Getting Started

By Thomas Duffy / April 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee will meet tomorrow morning to consider President Obama's $75.5 billion Pentagon supplemental spending request for the remainder of 2009. The request was sent to Congress on April 9.

A subcommittee spokesman told us that Chairman Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) will not issue a press release following the mark-up, opting to wait until the bill is reviewed by the full appropriations committee. Nor will Murtha meet with reporters, the spokesman said.

During a Senate floor speech this morning, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attacked the Obama supplemental request and the administration's approach to defense spending.

Let’s compare 2009 to 2010, where I have been accused of not being able to do math. Defense spending does increase from 2009 to 2010 by $14.9B but, according to President Obama’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on April 9th, there will be no more supplementals. That would mean DOD would have to fund all wartime operations to the tune of $100B dollars-plus. However, President Obama does fence off $130B for “Overseas Contingency Funds,” which could be used for getting out of Iraq and increased operations in Afghanistan. Even adding the entire $130B to defense spending, which is never the case with supplemental funding, the overall increase in defense spending for 2010 is $3.5B. If we estimate 2% inflation for cost growth of just the defense budget, defense spending actually decreases by $7.3B. Now add in the accelerated growth of the Army and Marine Corps -- a 65K and 22K increase respectively -- at a cost of approximately $13B to cover pay and health care costs and you start to see the beginnings of how our military modernization gets gutted. DOD has "must pays' -- personnel, operations and maintenance, ongoing wartime and contingencies operations. With a zero supplemental fund, the money to pay for these "must pays" will be taken from the base defense budget and the areas that are always hit are research and development and acquisition