What does the fiscal cliff deal mean for Pentagon spending?
The so-called “fiscal cliff” has been averted—for now. While most of us were celebrating and blissfully ignoring congressional drama, the House and Senate passed a year-end deal that primarily addressed the issue of taxes. The Washington Post gives a rundown on the deal here.
If you’ve been following our work to bring the overgrown Pentagon budget in line with our security needs, and thus make sure our budget isn’t balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable, you might be wondering what happened to the more than $1 trillion in spending cuts that were supposed to kick in as well.
The short answer is, not much. Congress and the White House punted on the spending cuts to March 1st, buying themselves more time—though not much to resolve an years-old impasse. In exchange for the extra time, they agreed to cut $12 billion in discretionary funding this year and next year, a portion of which will come from the Pentagon budget (for all the wonky details on the breakdown, click here).
This means we still have a lot of work to do to make sure that any deal includes significant reductions in the Pentagon budget. Multiple reports from groups across the political spectrum have pointed out that cutting around $500 billion from the Pentagon budget over the next ten years is completely reasonable. Given the outsized growth of this budget over the last decade, these are reductions we should be making regardless. The negotiations over automatic spending cuts give us one of the best opportunities we’ve had for progress.
If you’re on our email action alert list, we will let you know when your voice is needed to keep pushing on these cuts. Our political team is getting ready to head to DC to get new members up to speed and strategize about how we can make sure Pentagon spending stays on the table in this deal.