The military’s new fighter jet project only costs $1.45 trillion – While [Gov. Rick] Scott famously refused $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail in Florida, deriding it as an expensive boondoggle, his team shows no such hesitations about the $1.45 trillion F-35 project. The most expensive weapons system in Pentagon history, it has suffered technical setbacks, nearly a decade of production delays, and substantial cost overruns; the Pentagon currently estimates each plane will cost $135 million to build and maintain. So it’s no surprise that the Simpson-Bowles commission pointed to halving the Navy and Air Forces’ orders and eliminating the Marines’ version as a deficit-reduction step; in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office floated a similar cut. Any such reductions would lower the $1.59 billion in economic impact that, Lockheed boasts, Florida will get from F-35 contracts held by 95 in-state suppliers. […] During the Republican rebuttal to Obama’s 2012 State of the Union, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ripped the president for trying to “build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars.” Yet just three months earlier, his deputy, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, blessed a report highlighting the stimulus brought to her state’s economy by nearly 40,000 deficit-exploding federal defense jobs. – Mother Jones
Poll: 51 percent say U.S. should withdraw all troops from Europe – Rasmussen has a new poll out today finding that a slim majority of American “likely voters” think the United States should withdrawal all American troops from Europe: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States should remove all its troops from Western Europe and let the Europeans defend themselves. Only 29% disagree, but another 20% are undecided. Part of President Obama’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion in military spending over the next decade (DOD’s budget will still grow over that same period) includes cutting two Army brigades in Europe. – ThinkProgress
John Boehner and fellow Republicans want to play another game of “government shutdown” over the debt limit – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants Congress to raise the debt limit again later this year “without drama, pain and damage.” House Speaker John Boehner has other ideas. […] “When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.” — Brian Beutler | TPM
There will be no compromise: any tax increases to the wealthy or cuts to the DoD are completely off the table.
Why are Republicans flirting with Debt Limit Debacle 2.0? — Protecting The Bush Tax Cuts: This is a generational imperative for the GOP. The 2001 and 2003 Bush cuts are key to the decades-long conservative goal of redistributing wealth further up the income ladder and rolling back the federal government’s role in providing social services. All of the cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and if President Obama wins in November, he’ll have a lot of leverage to demand that the Republicans own up to the results and allow the cuts for high-income earners to expire. – Brian Beutler | TPM
Under the current baseline agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the debt-ceiling deal wherein Boehner claims he received “98 percent of what he wanted,” every bracket of the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of fiscal 2012. The only way any bracket, whether at the low-end or high-end, will be extended beyond fiscal 2012 is through an act of congress. If congress and the president simply do nothing, they will automatically expire. — Bob Cesca
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY – ”It is pretty galling for Speaker Boehner to be laying down demands for another debt-ceiling agreement when he won’t even abide by the last one. The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.”
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-MD – ”The dollar for dollar limit, of course, led to the sequester, which none of us like. While it sounds good, the execution of that principle does not seem to be very disciplined. The Speaker, in my view, believes [in a broad, balanced approach] as well, [but] the Speaker’s party does not believe in balance. Mr. Boehner is responding to the same people who didn’t want the Export-Import Bank to pass. The Republicans are good at buying and lousy at paying. They borrowed a lot of money, as a result we owe a lot of money. They don’t believe that tax cuts need to be paid for so they give away revenues, they continue to spend money and inevitably deficits occur.”
The last GOP-led hostage crisis over the debt — It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War. It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom — in this case, debt reduction. It didn’t matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn’t matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. This wasn’t just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn’t just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us. It’s the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.– Steve Benen
The Obama Administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 over provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and same sex marriage. The House Armed Services Committee approved the $642 billion defense budget last week by a 56-5 vote. The budget is $8 billion over the military spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation would continue to prevent the Obama Administration from closing down Guantanamo Bay by prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States or a foreign country. “The Administration continues to strongly oppose these provisions, which intrude upon the Executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. — Raw Story
On the first day of work on Thursday for a “super committee” charged with finding $1.2 trillion in new government savings, a member of the panel threatened to quit if defense spending cuts are discussed, underscoring the difficulties ahead.
Despite Republican Senator Jon Kyl’s surprise disclosure after the panel’s inaugural meeting that “I’m off of the committee if we’re going to talk about further defense spending,” other Republicans worked to put comprehensive tax reform squarely on the agenda and urged bipartisanship.
“If we cut anything other than money going toward the poor, I’m out”.