If you’re holding your breath waiting for Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech today, here’s a hint: don’t. Keep breathing, because you’ll need all your breath to laugh as RMoney speaks about his vision of, well, who knows? Meanwhile, on a serious note, there’s a lot to say about defense and Pentagon spending.
As I wrote for The Nation in 2011, it’s not likely that there will be substantive defense cuts before the 2012 election, though in 2013 it’s very possible. There is, of course, the endless debate over sequestration, but I don’t think that Congress will allow that to happen. (We’ll see.)
But first of all, God bless Barney Frank et al.:
A bipartisan commission appointed by Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) laid out ways on Friday to eliminate almost $1 trillion in defense spending over the next decade.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out options the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.
Yes, they do this every year—and yes, this time, too, it’s not going anywhere. But as I’ve pointed out in The Nation, more and more conservatives (and not just kooks like Ron Paul but Grover Norquist, cut-the-budget types, too) are buying in to the idea that the defense budget is bloated.
Now and then, there are small surprises, like this one, suggesting that quite a few Republicans aren’t wedded to infinite Pentagon spending:
In a surprise move, 89 Republicans joined 158 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote in favor of reducing the Pentagon’s budget by $1.1 billion for 2013. The vote was held during debate of the defense appropriations bill, which the House passed July 19. The decline in spending was brought about through an amendment co-sponsored by Tea Party Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of the House’s most liberal members.
Okay, I get it. It’s only $1.1 billion. Still, when many hawks are calling to expand Pentagon spending—and listen to RMoney’s speech today, too, on that score—it’s a sign of things to come.