Thanks to Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham for covering for me last week while I was out. As per usual, many of you have emailed to tell me how terrific they were, as they always are. But guest hosts make the lives of talkers sane, so many, many thanks to those two for pulling a week’s duty. I hope they will be back for the summer break as well.
While Vlad was gobbling up Crimea, and the PRC dramatically upping its defense outlays by 12%, the U.S. Congress sent exactly the opposite message to both of what it ought to have done. The Speaker said no change to defense spending would occur even though the Murray-Ryan budget was negotiated before both of our near-peer nuclear-armed competitors went into overdrive on the military side.
President Obama;s defense budget kills off the A-10 and as the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reported last week, dramatically cuts the Tomahawk and Hellfire missile programs. Those cuts should and probably will be reversed by the Congressional committees appropriating the money, but the caps on defense spending negotiated by Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Paul Ryan prior to the Russian and Chinese moves simply cannot go unanswered even if the Obama Administration choses to live with its collective head in the sand. It is up to the GOP to lead, and that means using the one tool it has at its disposal which is money for defense. Not doing so in the face of aggressive military moves would be as sane as Liberia shrugging its shoulders to new cases of Ebola showing up in its country. Of course Liberia hasn’t done that. No country responds to threats by shrugging its shoulders, except President Obama and, apparently, the GOP House.
I’ll have former Senator Jim Talent on today for his usual Monday conversation on defense to discuss and also hope to round up some key members on this issue. Sending Vlad and the PRC exactly the wrong message isn’t how the House GOP should be leading on defense.