By John T. Bennett
WASHINGTON — A senior US House appropriator doubts Congress will address pending military budget cuts any time soon.
House Appropriations Defense subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., told Pentagon brass on Wednesday that there are “insurmountable” political roadblocks for any plan to raise defense spending caps or get rid of sequestration.
To raise caps set in legal stone by the 2011 Budget Control Act or end the cuts put in place under the same law, members would have to approve legislation with other deficit-cutting measures.
But Visclosky sees something “blocking every path forward.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the subcommittee that “avoiding sequestration” is a major component of defense officials and lawmakers living “up to our responsibility of defending this country and the global order.”
But, he warned the members, “under sequestration, our military — and our national security — would have to take on irresponsible and unnecessary risk, risk that previous administrations and congressional leaders have wisely chosen to avoid.”
While subcommittee members agreed with Carter’s assessment, none laid out a plan during the hearing that they believe represents a politically feasible path toward raising the defense caps or getting rid of some or all of the remaining sequester cuts.
What’s more, it appears unlikely that the coming Republican 2016 budget resolution will include higher defense caps.