By Erik Wasson
House Republicans will not seek to increase defense spending in their 2015 budget in the wake of the crisis with Russia, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will keep both the top-line spending level of $1.014 trillion for 2015 and the specific caps for defense and non-defense spending.
The two-year budget deal reached in December put a $521 billion cap on non-defense spending and a $492 billion cap on defense spending, not including funds for the war on terrorism.
Boehner was asked about the 2015 level and whether defense spending would be left subject to automatic spending cuts known as sequestration over the following six years.
“I don’t know that we’re far enough along in that project to make that determination. In terms of the spending for defense in this year, I believe that we’ll abide by the budget agreement that we’ve already made,” Boehner said.
Ryan is expected to release his budget resolution next week. It would likely receive a House vote before the mid-April Easter recess.
Ryan’s budget is expected to balance within 10 years without raising revenue, a feat that will require trillions in spending cuts.
Adding new defense spending into the mix would require deeper cuts from non-defense spending or from mandatory entitlement programs.
House and Senate appropriators have already begun crafting the 2015 bills and a House budget resolution that alters the caps from the December deal would complicate an effort to complete all 12 appropriations bills by the start of the fiscal year for the first time since the mid-1990s.