House Republicans Stand Up For More Pentagon Money Than It Wants

The House approved a measure today that would replace the planned $72 billion “sequester” of defense appropriations provided for in last year’s debt limit agreement with domestic spending cuts, and then go on to cut another $243 billion in domestic spending for good measure, with most of the cuts aiming either at eliminating signature Obama administration initiatives (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the ObamaCare preventive health fund) or at reshaping safety net programs in the image of Paul Ryan’s budget (big food stamp cuts, restrictions in Medicaid funding and eligibility, elimination of the Social Services Block Grant).

Since the administration opposes any such measures, and it has nowhere to go in the Senate, this is basically a symbolic gesture to show how badly House Republicans want to cut safety net programs and how firmly they are committed to the proposition that the Pentagon needs more money than it’s asked for. Boehner and company are proud they only lost 16 Republicans on this vote. I think it’s more interesting that not a single Democrat supported it. The days when “more money for the Pentagon” was an irresistable siren song for a certain breed of Democrat seem to be gone.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.