Tags: John McCain | Paul Ryan | McCain | Battle | Defense Spending | Bill

McCain Finds Himself in the Middle of Defense Spending Battle

Image: McCain Finds Himself in the Middle of Defense Spending Battle

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By    |   Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 10:15 AM

With Sen. John McCain facing a difficult reelection, he finds himself right in the middle of a budget fight over defense spending, The Hill reports.

Republican defense hawks say the military is facing a crisis that requires an $18 billion increase in spending to rectify.

This is part of House Speaker Paul Ryan defense spending plan, which takes the extra money for defense spending from a war fund to be used for base budget items. The war fund is not subject to budget caps imposed by a 2011 spending deal, which also includes parallel restrictions on domestic spending.

But the only way such a boost in defense spending will be passed is if the GOP agrees to match those increases in domestic spending, something not included in Ryan's plan and that flies in the face of what Republican budget hawks are willing to do, especially in an election year when they want to show they have cut spending.

The showdown puts McCain right in the middle. He supports raising military spending, but as the Senate's Armed Services Committee chairman did not add more money in the Senate's defense policy bill.

Making the challenge more difficult for McCain was the revelation of a secret Pentagon plan to play "hardball" against Ryan's defense spending proposal, according to Politico, by which defense officials would try to pit congressmen against each other and find other ways to undermine the proposal.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook explained the opposition to Ryan's plan, telling Politico there are "deep concerns with a proposal that raids $18 billion in war funds at a time of war, in order to buy force structure that the department has not requested and may be unable to support in the future.

"In addition, the proposal also undermines the bipartisan budget agreement that has allowed the department to responsibly plan for the future in our budget proposal."

McCain spokesman Dustin Walker expressed to The Hill the dilemma McCain find himself in.

"Arbitrary caps on defense spending in the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act have left each of our military services underfunded, undersized, and unready to meet current and future threats," Walker said.

"As Chairman McCain has emphasized, this debate is not just about a topline number. It's about returning to a strategy-driven defense budget that our troops deserve."

But, "McCain strongly believes that defense cannot and should not be exempt from fiscal responsibility. That's why in last two Senate [National Defense Authorization Acts], Chairman McCain led the push to eliminate billions in wasteful and excessive spending and reform the way the Pentagon does business, especially how it buys weapons."

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With Sen. John McCain facing a difficult reelection, he finds himself right in the middle of a budget fight over defense spending, The Hill reports.
McCain, Battle, Defense Spending, Bill
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2016-15-07
Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 10:15 AM
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