GOP backing away from defense cuts

“Personally, I like to think I am serious about cutting our deficits,” Mulvaney said of his proposal to freeze defense. “Many of us have gone around back home and told people how serious we are. But how can we look them in the eye and tell them that we are serious about cutting this deficit and about cutting spending and then come in and plus-up the base defense budget?”

“It’s easy to cut things we don’t like. It’s hard to cut things that are important to us.”

“We had hoped for better,” John Isaacs, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, told POLITICO. He took heart that 69 Republicans altogether voted for one of the two major budget-cutting amendments: the Mulvaney freeze or the Frank bipartisan alternative that preserved half of the $17 billion increase recommended by the House Appropriations leadership.

“You have scores of Republicans willing to cut defense that wouldn’t have done it just six or eight months ago,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). “Republicans think we have to have some votes on defense in order to be taken seriously on the other stuff.”