Less than a week after hosting a lucrative fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Montana, former Vice President Dick Cheney will be on Capitol Hill today, warning House Republicans about the dangers of looming, automatic defense cuts.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is coming back to his old stomping grounds in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to highlight the impact that the automatic spending cuts to defense programs will have next year, according to two senior GOP leadership aides.
Cheney is scheduled to attend the weekly leadership meeting with House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other top elected leaders and then will meet with the full House GOP whip team led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to discuss strategy for how to deal with the automatic cuts to defense programs that were included as part of the debt deal last summer.
According to Politico, point of the visit is to get lawmakers “ginned up” about the need to blunt the cuts.
I’m sure Cheney will be well received – Republicans don’t like to be seen with George W. Bush, but they still hold Cheney in high regard, despite his scandals and notorious unpopularity – and he’ll no doubt make stirring remarks about the evils of cutting the Pentagon budget.
But can we please not forget that the cuts that Cheney and congressional Republicans are so concerned about were proposed by congressional Republicans themselves?
To reiterate a point that often goes overlooked, there are deep, automatic defense cuts set to kick in at the end of the year. But the history matters: as part of last year’s debt-ceiling deal, policymakers accepted over $1 trillion in cuts that would be implemented if the so-called super-committee failed. Democrats weren’t completely willing to roll over – they wanted to create an incentive for Republicans to work in good faith
Republicans agreed: if the committee failed, the GOP would accept defense cuts and Dems would accept non-defense domestic cuts. The committee, of course, flopped, which put us on the clock for the automatic reductions (the “sequester”) that Republicans contributed to the very process they insisted upon.
Cheney and GOP lawmakers will agree today that these cuts would undermine the military during a time of war. There may even be some truth to the argument. But Republicans will nevertheless be railing against the Republicans’ own idea.