Monday, August 8, 2016

military spending caps haven't brought the total disaster so many predicted

When Congress passed the Budget Control Act in 2011, defense leaders warned the spending caps could have disastrous consequences for military programs and planning.
Five years later, many of those fears have not materialized. But Pentagon leaders and presidential hopefuls are still condemning the law as a danger to national security, and searching for a solution to the problem known as sequestration.
The budget caps, originally proposed as a poison pill to force lawmakers into a more comprehensive fiscal plan for federal spending, place strict limits on how much defense and nondefense money can be allocated through fiscal 2021. Mandatory federal spending and some agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs are exempt.
Despite giving lawmakers a target number for their annual appropriations work, the law has nearly paralyzed budget negotiations on Capitol Hill, giving members of Congress little room to negotiate with the White House on spending shifts and priorities.
That’s especially true for the Defense Department, with Pentagon planners delaying some major new equipment purchases for years to ensure enough money stays in place to maintain current priorities. Both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have made the budget caps a talking point on the campaign trail. more