Making an Exception for Defense

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill that would exempt the Department of Defense and other national security agencies from sequestration. “Again and again, national security requirements have materialized after the Budget Control Act was passed, but we have forced our military to tackle a growing set of missions with arbitrary and insufficient budget levels, revised periodically with whatever additional resources the Congress is able to scare up,” McCain said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor. “The results speak for themselves: Since 2011, as worldwide threats have been increasing, we have cut our defense spending by almost 25 percent in annual spending.” The mandatory budget cuts, known as sequestration, were included in the Budget Control Act as a punishment if Congress did not reach a deal to cut the national deficit. Half of the sequestration cuts come from defense, the other half from domestic programs. McCain said to continue operating under the budget caps, particularly after the attacks in Paris, is “not only absurd, it is dangerous.” The bill was assigned to committee on Nov. 18.