The 112th Congress and Military Spending

Capitol Hill Briefing
January 19, 2011 12:00PM
SVC 203-02 U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
Featuring Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute; Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform, and Member, Board of Directors, The Nixon Center; moderated by Kurt Couchman, Manager of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.

The 112th Congress includes many new members elected on a promise to close the nation’s unsustainable deficits. Despite the efforts of some in Washington to exempt the Pentagon’s budget from scrutiny, the president’s deficit reduction commission and a nongovernmental panel chaired by former senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Alice Rivlin (former budget director for President Clinton) both called for cuts in military spending. Other proposals have called for even deeper reductions, noting that the defense budget has nearly doubled in real terms over the past 13 years. Even many conservatives now believe that the Pentagon’s budget can be cut without undermining American security. A letter circulated by Americans for Tax Reform, and signed by more than two dozen conservative leaders, declared that attempts to exempt military spending from cuts “would signal that the new Congress is not serious about fiscal responsibility and not ready to lead.” Will the 112th Congress lead on spending, and will they include the Pentagon’s budget in their plans? If so, in what ways will cuts in military spending force Washington to rein in its global ambitions? Please join us for a discussion of these issues.