The Pentagon is looking to get $7.5B to fight ISIS. Jazz has already looked at the increased military spending Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants for Europe and countering Russia, but the massive jump (50%) in fighting ISIS, shows the Obama Administration isn’t treating them like the JV team anymore. Via ABC News:
“This will be critical as our updated coalition military campaign plan kicks in. For example, we’ve recently been hitting ISIL with so many GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets that we’re starting to run low on the ones that we use against terrorists the most,” [ Ash ] Carter said. ISIS is also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. “So we’re investing $1.8 billion in FY 2017 to buy over 45,000 more of them.”
The interesting part of this request is the fact the Defense Department is hoping to keep spending mostly level. They got around $580B last year and the official tally for this coming fiscal year is $582B. This has Republicans asking the same question I want to know: Where is the money going to come from? Via The Hill:
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) earlier Tuesday said the budget request did not account for a 50-percent increase in spending for the war against ISIS from last year, or a quadrupling of funds to reassure European allies worried about Russia.
“The increase in counter-ISIS investments and deterrence of Russia are welcome and needed moves,” Thornberry said in a statement. “But the president’s budget request, for example, does not add funds to accommodate the $7.5 billion in additional funding to counter ISIS or the $3.4 billion to deter Russia.”
Thornberry’s point is valid, but also shows the problem the GOP tends to have when it comes to military spending. The GOP likes to be pro-military (and I agree, we need to have a strong military) but for them it means all budget increases, and no budget cuts. This was something Marco Rubio and Rand Paul argued about during the November presidential debate. Transcript via Business Insider:
Paul: How is it conservative to add a trillion-dollar expenditure for the federal government that you’re not paying for? How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures? You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs that you’re not going to pay for.
Rubio: We can’t even have an economy if we’re not safe. There are radical jihadists in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians, a radical Shia cleric in Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon. The Chinese taking over the South China Sea. Yes, I believe the world is a safer … no, no, I don’t believe, I know … that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world.
The two, along with Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, also argued with each other over defense spending on the Senate floor last March, with Cruz going with Rubio and Graham over Paul. The former wanted to raise defense spending without actual cuts elsewhere, while Paul wanted to make sure the defense expenditures were off-set by cuts to other government programs. What Thornberry should actually be asking is “where is the Obama Administration willing to cut to get this spending increase?” That’s the more logical question to ask, and would actually put the GOP in a position of power because they’re standing in favor of fiscal sanity. If the GOP wants more money to fight ISIS, then it’s going to have to decide where the cash is going to come from. The government cannot afford more spending with the debt at $19T. It’s going to have to eliminate wasteful programs like the VA, like Rural Utilities Service (which lost billions), like the GSA (which is auctioning off a Blackhawk helicopter), the Farm Service Agency, etc. etc. before the government can consider increased defense spending.