The Biden White House recently alleged the Republican lawmakers who now control the House of Representatives will pursue spending cuts that will “defund” the U.S. military. In a Monday response, the new Republican House Majority Whip accused the Biden administration of “peddling lies” about Republican plans.
Republicans, who recently took over control of the House, appear to be going through an internal debate about what spending priorities are on the table as they work to reduce government spending. In a recent interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) faced a question about whether defense spending could be cut, to which he replied, “We got a $32 trillion debt. Everything has to be on the table.”
During that interview, Jordan went on to propose reducing the number of general officers in the military.
“Maybe if we focused on that, helping the troops who do so much of the work out there for our great country, and maybe focus on getting rid of all the woke policies in our military, we’d have the money we need to make sure our troops get the pay raise they deserve, we have the weapons systems and the training that needs to be done, so we’re ready to deal with our adversaries around the planet, that’s what we want to focus on,” Jordan added.
Some of the questions about the Republican plans for defense spending stem from concessions some Republican lawmakers requested from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in exchange for supporting his bid to become the speaker of the House. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who had been one of the Republican holdouts that initially opposed McCarthy’s speakership, posted on Twitter that he and his colleagues “secured a commitment from Speaker McCarthy to enact the biggest discretionary spending cut EVER in FY 2024,” by reducing fiscal year 2024 spending levels to match the spending levels seen in the 2022 fiscal year.
White House Describes ‘Push to Defund Our Military’
On Monday, Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich posted on Twitter an excerpt from an interview with White House spokesperson Andrew Bates, who said, “This push to defund our military in the name of politics is senseless and out of line with our national security needs.”
NEW: White House slams @SpeakerMcCarthy deal with GOP dissenters that could potentially slash military funding, @AndrewJBates46 calling it “senseless and out of line with our national security needs”https://t.co/RXHNwvyHnt pic.twitter.com/xVJIaryY0u
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) January 9, 2023
“There is bipartisan opposition to defense cuts because making us less capable of keeping the American people safe and advancing our national security interests would be a profound mistake that our nation cannot afford,” Bates added in his interview comment.
On Monday, Republican House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) criticized the commentary coming from the White House about military spending cuts.
Emmer alleged the Biden White House was “peddling lies” to distract from Republican plans to investigate their spending practices under the first two years of the Biden presidency.
“The Biden administration is peddling lies because they are terrified House Republicans will soon hold them accountable for the bloated bureaucracy and reckless spending that has built up under Democrats’ one-party rule,” Emmer told Fox News.
Roy posted a tweet Sunday about the deal he and other Republicans reached with McCarthy to “enact the biggest discretionary spending cut,” saying it did not include any discussion of cutting defense funding.
“Like clockwork big spending neocons & the military industrial complex have claimed this means cutting defense spending,” Roy said. “THAT’S A LIE.”
Rep. Roy & his colleagues secured a commitment from Speaker McCarthy to enact the biggest discretionary spending cut EVER in FY 2024.
And like clockwork big spending neocons & the military industrial complex have claimed this means cutting defense spending
THAT’S A LIE.
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) January 9, 2023
In follow-up tweets, Roy said that “during negotiations, cuts to defense were NEVER DISCUSSED.”
“In fact, there was broad agreement spending cuts should focus on NON-DEFENSE discretionary spending,” Roy continued. “This means cutting funding for the woke & weaponized bureaucrats that received massive increases under the $1.7 trillion omnibus. (This IS NOT Social Security/Medicare).”
In fact, there was broad agreement spending cuts should focus on NON-DEFENSE discretionary spending.
This means cutting funding for the woke & weaponized bureaucrats that received massive increases under the $1.7 trillion omnibus.
(This IS NOT Social Security/Medicare)
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) January 9, 2023
Emmer Says Spending Cuts Part of Separate Agreement
On Sunday, Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) shared concerns that the Republican proposal to cut spending back to the levels seen in fiscal year 2022 would include cuts for defense spending and would be included in the rules package for the House.
“This has a proposed billions of dollar cut to defense, which I think is a horrible idea,” Gonzales said in a Sunday interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Emmer told Fox News that Gonzalez is “not willing” to vote for the rules package yet due to his concerns about defense spending and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is “on the fence.”
Emmer said that McCarthy’s agreement to cut spending back to FY2022 levels is part of an agreement that’s separate from the new House rules package. Emmer told Fox News that he believes GOP members will eventually “come around” on the rules package when “they realize the things that they want to talk about are in this separate agreement.”
“And the argument is this would affect defense spending, which I’m here to tell you guys, Republicans will not impact defense spending,” said Emmer. “Aside from the efficiencies and waste, it’s the domestic spending that we’re going to go after.”