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The Budget Deal and Defense

The budget deal struck between Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, assuming it’s passed by both chambers, hardly solves all of our budget woes. But it is a positive step forward especially for the U.S. Armed Forces, which have faced the prospect of devastating and illogical budget cuts dictated by the sequestration process. The Ryan-Murray deal does not turn off all the defense cuts, but it does pare them back. Defense News sums up the details:

The compromise budget resolution, if adopted by both chambers, would provide $63 billion in sequestration relief in 2014 and 2015, which would be split evenly among defense and non-defense discretionary accounts.

The 2014 relief would total $45 billion, meaning the Defense Department would get back about $22.5 billion. In 2015, the relief amount would be around $18 billion total, and $9 billion for the Pentagon.

The restoration of some of these budget cuts would be “financed” by reducing cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees, cutting modestly payments to Medicare providers, and other small budget fixes.

In short the deal should be seen from a conservative perspective as a good outcome–it maintains budget discipline while providing more funding to the armed forces. It is puzzling, therefore, that so many conservative firebrands are expressing opposition and that House and Senate Republican leaders are hesitating to endorse it. Paul Ryan should be winning congratulations for what he has achieved rather than being forced to fight to keep the deal from getting torpedoed by conservative absolutists who have no workable alternative to offer.



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