Lawmaker: Defense Hawks Likely To Support Budget Deal

October 27, 2015

Defense News:

Defense hawks will likely back the two-year budget accord crafted by the White House and Republican leaders in Congress, according to a key lawmaker on defense in the House — even though the deal reportedly falls a few billion shy of the president’s $612 billion defense budget request.

Although there has been no official announcement of the details, news outlets are reporting that the two-year agreement would raise domestic and defense spending by $80 billion and lift the national borrowing limit until March 2017. Republicans are said to be divided on the deal, which could be voted on by the House as soon as Wednesday — the same day the GOP is expected to nominate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to replace retiring Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as House speaker.

House Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner released a statement Monday night welcoming the deal, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., held a meeting with his caucus to explain the contours. Though it does not say so explicitly, the statement raises the likelihood that Boehner will be able to deliver an important voting bloc.

On Oct. 15, Turner, along with 101 House Republicans, sent a letter to House leaders calling for a defense budget that falls no lower than the president’s requested level. Earlier this year, Turner had sent a similar letter to House leaders, signed by 70 House Republicans, which he Turner noted, set conditions for, “a House budget deal that fully funded defense.”

“There is tremendous value in a two-year deal, as it provides the Department of Defense with the certainty it needs to plan for and execute various missions around the world,” Turner said. “Certainly, in a one-year funding bill these numbers would be absolutely unacceptable. As a potential deal moves to the floor for consideration, it’s imperative that national defense remains fully funded.”

Under the potential budget deal, it appears as though GOP defense hawks would get $5 billion less than the amount they sought for defense, according to a Senate aide. The potential deal prescribes a $33 billion plus-up for defense in fiscal 2016, with $25 billion of this in the base budget and $8 billion in the wartime overseas contingency operations account, instead of a $38 billion plus-up through OCO…

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