A clear winner has emerged today for the most unusual policy pairing this month in the House: Tea Party Caucus and Republican Study Committee member Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
Mulvaney and Ellison spearheaded a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders today asking that budget negotiations include defense savings in any final agreement.
“We have serious concerns about the careless and arbitrary way that sequestration reduces defense spending, but we support its general intent to improve our fiscal condition,” they wrote. “We believe that substantial defense savings can be achieved over the long-term, without compromising national security, through strategic reductions in the Pentagon’s budget.”
They reference plans by the CATO Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the National Taxpayer’s Union, and others as a blueprint for saving up to $550 billion “without harming national security.”
Nearly two dozen Democrats and Republicans joined Mulvaney and Ellison by signing the letter.
“As we transition from wartime to peacetime, and as we confront our nation’s fiscal challenges, future defense budgets should reflect the conclusion of these wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] and acknowledge that our modern military is able to approach conflicts utilizing fewer – but more advanced – resources,” they wrote. “Congress must consider these changes, not past spending or percentages of GDP, and move toward defense budgeting that focuses on meeting specific military requirements.”
The automatic sequestration cuts set to go into effect at the beginning of the new year would be across-the-board slashes instead of the surgical cuts sought by the lawmakers.