Buck McKeon Uses Syria Resolution To Push For More Military Spending


We all knew this was coming, didn't we? President Obama is pushing for air strikes in Syria, so naturally the House Republicans are going to use it as an excuse to end the sequester cuts for military spending. Funny they never have the same concern for the cuts that do real damage to the working class and the poor.

Top Republican Threatens To Hold Syria Resolution Hostage Unless Obama Caves To GOP On Sequester:

Appearing on CNN Sunday morning, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee suggested that he may hold the authorization President Obama seeks for military action in Syria hostage unless the President caves on a longtime Republican policy priority. Throughout his appearance, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) argued — falsely — that the sequester has somehow reduced the military’s ability to execute the limited strikes President Obama is currently contemplating, and he concluded the interview by saying that the President must “fix sequestration” to convince him to vote “yes” on a military strike. His comments were echoed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who, after offering some vague criticisms about the President’s “lack of leadership,” also indicated that she judge Obama’s leadership to be quite adequate if he only took the Republican position on the sequester. [...]

Increased military spending is a pet cause of McKeon’s. Shortly after the ill-fated “super committee” failed to come up with an alternative to the sequester, McKeon introduced legislation to cancel just the defense portions of the sequester, while leaving cuts to health care, housing, disaster relief, and education intact.

In reality, however, McKeon’s concerns about a shrinking military budget are overblown. As the Center for American Progress’ Larry Korb, a former Assistant Defense Secretary during the Reagan Administration, explained during the debate over the sequester, the military budget is rife with unnecessary expenses that no longer make sense in the modern world. “Since we are withdrawing troops from the Middle East and are unlikely to need large armies there anytime soon,” Korb wrote, “the size of our ground forces can be cut back by 100,000 to pre-9/11 levels. Since the cold war ended 20 years ago, the 80,000 troops still in Europe can be reduced to 20,000. Since the military increasingly relies on unmanned planes and precision guided munitions, the number of carriers and Air Force fighters can be reduced by 25 percent.”

As they noted in the rest of the post, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to be concerned about air strikes in Syria, such as the ones expressed by Rep. Jim McGovern in the same segment, but what McKeon is doing here is "the height of cynicism."

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