‘Gang of Six’ Plan Could Gut Defense

This week, Representative Buck McKeon (R–CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released a memorandum to Republicans on the committee. He appropriately criticized the “Gang of Six” budget outline from the Senate for its possible negative consequences for national security.

Since the Gang of Six proposal is nothing more than an outline to this point, McKeon is right to flag the possible ramifications. The few specific numbers its proponents have described do not meet the requirements for appropriate analysis, let alone the more stringent requirements for budget scoring. Unfortunately, even members of the Gang of Six have acknowledged as much. It seems that little more than a press release is required to get credit for debt reduction in Washington these days.

Responding to what little detail has been provided, McKeon estimates that the Gang of Six proposal will cut almost $900 billion in national security spending over a decade and implies that the national security accounts will absorb nearly half of all federal budget discretionary cuts. Asking security agencies, namely the U.S. military, to absorb half of the spending cuts in this proposal is irresponsible.

What we do know as fact—and where McKeon is not speculating—is that the U.S. military has already contributed to debt reduction over the past two years when no other federal agency has done so.



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