CR Wrap: Defense Spending and the Freshmen
One of the major stories following the debate over the Continuing Resolution (CR) last week has been how the House successfully voted to cut funding for the Joint Strike Fighter’s alternate engine with the help of a large block of the new Freshmen. One such story came out earlier this week from The Hill, which said some Republicans fear the new Freshman will continue to hack away at the defense budget. This story, and others like it, miss the bigger picture.
When the Appropriations Committee released their proposed cuts, we were concerned to see defense funding $16 billion below what the President had requested. A Heritage Foundation paper detailed how this funding level would harm our military.
During the course of the floor debate, there ended up being 13 votes on amendments to cut defense funding. All but the above JSF alt-engine amendment failed to pass. So where were all of the tea party, defense-cutting Freshman on those votes?
An analysis of the voting patterns on those 13 votes found that the Freshmen were not the ones leading the charge to cut defense within the GOP. There were just 14 Republicans willing to cut defense more than 50% of the time and only one was a Freshmen. Of the 29 Republicans who voted to protect defense less than 65% of the time, only six were Freshmen.
On the other end of the spectrum, there were 78 Republicans who opposed amendments to cut defense 100% of the time and another 47 who did so at least 92% of the time. In total 41 Freshmen were a part of these two groups, nearly half of their entire class. Clearly, it is too soon to say the Freshmen are leading the charge to cut defense.