Legislators warn funding for Defense may be in danger

The leaders of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday warned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that his $343 billion funding request could fall victim to budget limits because of the declining fiscal 2002 surplus estimates. Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and ranking member Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, disagreed over the role President Bush's tax cut played in eliminating the expected surplus, but pledged to work together to ensure that the Pentagon got its requested budget increase for fiscal 2002. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, separately have said they will not approve defense spending above the $325 billion limit set in fiscal 2002 congressional budget resolution to avoid cutting into the Medicare and Social Security trust funds. Inouye warned that to cut the defense budget by $20 billion, Congress would have to decimate modernization, eliminate the military pay raise or cut forces. "I will not be a party to that," Inouye said, while blaming the vanishing surplus on "a slumping economy and a too-large tax cut." Stevens argued that the "margin of error" in the widely different surplus projections by the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget would support the conclusion that the proposed spending levels would not cut into the trust funds, which both parties have sworn to protect. But he promised to join Inouye in fighting for the full Pentagon budget. Inouye vowed to request a waiver of the budget limits, if necessary, to allow Senate approval of the Pentagon's request and asked Rumsfeld if he would support that effort. But Rumsfeld would not commit the administration's support to a move that would have the effect of conceding its budget would tap the trust funds. Rumsfeld repeatedly said that decision had to be made by the President. Rumsfeld also deferred to the White House when Inouye asked for suggestions on other federal spending that could be cut to make room for the defense increase. But he reminded the subcommittee that Bush's two top priorities were national defense and education, and he insisted that the military "needs every nickel" of the requested budget. Senate Budget ranking member Pete Domenici, R-N.M., at first insisted there was no conflict between the budget resolution and the Pentagon's spending request. "I submit there is room for this budget ... The on-line surplus is huge," he said. But Domenici later conceded the total of the 13 appropriations bills could violate the limits and permit a point of order against the last spending bills to come to the floor. He then argued that the government should not cut spending in a recession.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.