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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Signs the debt will be laid at the doorstep of the Pentagon

The Hill:

Defense cuts proposed by the White House are unlikely to keep a debt-ceiling deal from passing Congress, sources say.
As few as 30 House Republicans would likely consider voting against a debt-ceiling deal that cuts $300 billion from security spending, according to a GOP aide.
The relatively small bloc of opposition to the level of defense cuts floated by the White House suggests the GOP’s traditional opposition to reducing military spending has taken a backseat to warding off tax increases. 
“Robust defense spending and lower taxes have been two hallmarks of the Republican Party for years,” one former GOP House staffer said. “And those two things are going to be in direct competition with one another” in the debt talks.
Given a choice between lopping funding for the military and increasing taxes — two options for reducing the deficit long seen as anathema to the party — most House Republicans seem ready to pull the lever against the Pentagon, if the cuts are in the White House range. 
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen quite clearly that the Republicans in the House are not uniformly wedded to high levels of defense spending,” said Gordon Adams, who ran defense and national security budgeting for the Clinton White House. “But Republicans are very much uniformly wedded to no tax increases. … I think they’ll ultimately come down on the side of no tax cuts.”

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