Now that Republicans are set to take over the Senate and have increased their lead in the House, some in Washington predict a defense spending boom.
That’s wishful thinking.
Republicans campaigned on defense, but now talk more about the Keystone pipeline, Obamacare and immigration than raising DoD’s budget or lifting sequestration.
Despite an improving economy, debt reduction and tax cuts are top Republican priorities as another borrowing limit battle looms. More for DoD means cuts elsewhere, and Democrats will shield social programs and the president still has veto power.
Remember, the Obama administration each year asks for more Pentagon funding than Congress approves — with Republicans opposing more defense money to cut government spending.
Even the conservative Wall Street Journal last week said defense cuts could pay for highway improvements.
Both President Barack Obama and the next Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, say they want to work together.
And they must.
Obama’s legacy is at stake and Republicans must show there’s more to them than saying no, threatening debt default and shutting down government as they position for 2016.
Cooperation will be difficult. Republicans blame Obama for all the nation’s ills and won by running against him. Obama, meanwhile, resents McConnell’s strategy of blocking him at every turn.
They must work together to lift sequestration, reform entitlements and taxes. But it’s simply too early to count on more defense money.