'Horrible idea': House Republicans at war with each other over plans to cut defense spending
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in November 2022. (Shutterstock.com)

On Monday, POLITICO reported that House Republicans are divided on a deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) brokered with hardliners that would cut tens of billions of dollars from national defense spending.

"Less than two weeks after cementing another major increase to the Pentagon budget, lawmakers are now talking about going the opposite direction — and are even raising the specter of across-the-board cuts that rocked the establishment just over a decade ago," reported Connor O'Brien. "An emerging deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and conservatives who initially opposed his bid for the gavel looks to exact deep spending cuts. This comes amid a looming partisan fight over the debt limit, compounding fears that overall spending is poised for a return to automatic reductions known as sequestration."

"The nascent pact does not make a specific commitment on defense spending. Many Republicans have sought to quash chatter of Pentagon cuts, noting they could instead look to make reductions from the non-military side of the ledger. But if the Pentagon is not spared, reverting to last year’s budget levels would amount to a roughly 10 percent cut, wiping out a $75 billion increase enacted last month," said the report. "'Seems like we could be backing ourselves into sequestration,' warned Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), an Army veteran and Armed Services Committee member, on a Friday conference call with McCarthy and allies, POLITICO reported."

According to the report, one member who is particularly upset is Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), a U.S. Navy veteran.

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“This has a proposed billions of dollar cut to defense, which I think is a horrible idea when you have [an] aggressive Russia in Ukraine, you have a growing threat of China in the Pacific,” said Gonzales on CBS’s "Face the Nation" Sunday. “How am I going to look at our allies in the eye and say, ‘I need you to increase your defense budget,’ but yet America is going to decrease ours?” Rep. Mike Gallagher, meanwhile, warned that the votes might not be there, saying, "There’s a ton of defense hawks that are necessary to get to the math of 218."

Republicans have long supported defense spending increases, and even protected the defense budget against other cuts across the board. A number of factors have turned the far right against the GOP's traditional war hawk position, including skepticism of supporting Ukraine against the genocidal Russian invasion, and accusations that the military is pushing "woke" racial politics.