Niskanen Center’s Matthew Fay, in an open letter to the House Budget Committee, advises maintaining the caps on defense spending established by the 2011 Budget Control Act. (BCA). Fay and the Niskanen Center, along with other pro-liberty organizations wrote:
Recent news articles point to an effort by some to get Congress to break the caps set for Pentagon spending. But to be clear, BCA spending levels for FY16 – in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending – actually exceed the levels enacted for FY15. The President’s proposal to jettison the caps and increase Pentagon spending by roughly $35 billion more than the approximately half trillion dollars set by the BCA is fiscally irresponsible and unnecessary. Although some have maligned the BCA, its budget caps have effectively curbed excessive spending.
Any effort to modify it must be done in a way that keeps promises made to taxpayers. Fiscal discipline is needed across the federal government and that includes defense spending. We also understand there is pressure to make an end-run around the BCA caps by increasing the already generous $51 billion requested for the emergency Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. As you know, OCO has already gained a reputation as a slush fund as more and more base budget items are being funded through this “off budget” account. We urge you to resist these efforts and to scrutinize the Administration’s use of OCO.
Much of the recent press on the Pentagon budget revolves around the specter of the return of across-the-board sequestration cuts supposedly wreaking havoc on defense planning. The simple fact is that, if the budget hews to the spending levels set out in the BCA, there are no “meat axe” across-the-board-cuts, just responsible budgeting.