Lawmakers: The Defense Budget is “Broken”

Senators on the Senate Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee agreed that the Department of Defense is suffering a dangerous readiness shortfall because of a flawed federal budget process. “The budget process is broken,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said at a Wednesday hearing, claiming that Congress has passed “175 continuing resolutions since 1974.” He called on his colleagues to “use the military as the platform” to generate broad budgetary reform that “has nothing to do with partisan politics.” However, subcommittee chairman Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) took a shot at the Obama Administration’s principle, enshrined in the proportional spending caps of the Budget Control Act of 2011, that each federal dollar spent on the military must be matched with a dollar of domestic spending. Inhofe said this idea violated the “constitutional” duty to prioritize national defense. He said that since 1954, military spending had declined from 52 percent of the federal budget to only 15 percent today. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) replied to Inhofe that Democrats supported equivalent spending on military and domestic matters only “as long as the caps are in place,” and he called for a repeal of the Budget Control Act so that lawmakers could return to “making our case for spending priorities.”