Defense Spending

House GOP Want to Have Cake and Eat it Too, President Obama Vetoes Cake

Congressional Republicans have begun the process of attempting to pass their fantasy budget in a piecemeal approach and the White House is making it clear that the president will not sign any of it by threatening to veto each individual part.

This includes an increase in defense spending that is effectively pushed off the books by using contingency "war funding."

The administration said it also “strongly objects” to the use of the Pentagon’s war fund to pay for infrastructure investments. In their budget deal, which has yet to be released, House and Senate Republicans want to use the war fund to circumvent sequestration budget ceilings next year to boost defense spending.

“Shifting long-term defense costs to OCO [overseas contingency operations] is bad budget policy and bad defense policy, since it undermines long-term planning,” the White House said.

Congressional Republicans want to use the contingency fund to pay for an expansion of medical facilities for veterans. This budgetary gimmickry would effectively enable them to increase defense spending without directly increasing defense spending. The contingency fund is not subject to sequestration.

Expanding VA facilities is a worthy cause that should be fully funded but, amusingly, the Republican fantasy budget includes less on-the-books defense spending than President Obama has requested in his own budget.

Why would Republicans want to push VA funding off the books so they don't have to account for it?

Because it's incredibly difficult to come up with the 3 to 5 trillion dollars in total cuts (while increasing defense spending) that their budget framework calls for without outright abolishing entire programs.

In its totality, the Republican budget framework is a conservative Mancondo oil well junk-shot, and even when you break it down into individual appropriation bills it still manages to astonish.