Why Rand Paul is right to push 'Pentagon spending cuts': journalist

Why Rand Paul is right to push 'Pentagon spending cuts': journalist

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has often butted heads with the more hawkish members of his party — including former Rep. Liz Cheney — and some Democrats have criticized Paul as well when it comes to national defense. To Paul’s critics, especially neoconservatives, the libertarian-leaning senator is an isolationist.

As Democrats and Republicans in Congress argue over how to handle the United States’ debt ceiling, Paul is making a proposal that is bound to draw criticism from members of both major parties: cut defense spending.

At a press conference on Wednesday, January 25, Paul told reporters that in order for GOP and Democratic lawmakers to reach some type of budget agreement, “Republicans would have to give up the sacred cow that says we will never touch a dollar in military (spending).” And journalist John Nichols, in an article published by The Nation on January 30, argues that in this case, Paul is partly right.

READ MORE:Corporate Democrats go to bat for bloated Pentagon budget

Nichols, unlike Paul, doesn’t favor cuts to social spending. But he agrees with Paul that the United States’ military budget is excessive.

“The reality is that the Military-Industrial Complex can and should take the hit, and that some substantial portion of the savings from Pentagon spending cuts should be used to address human needs of low-income and working-class families that have been hard hit not only by inflation, but also, by the failure of Congress to renew and extend programs such as the child tax credit enhancement,” Nichols writes. “But that does not mean that Paul’s readiness to entertain military-spending cuts should be ignored…. The willingness of a prominent Republican to speak so openly about making Pentagon budget cuts a part of what are likely to be intense debates about the budget ought to provoke discussion on all sides.”

Nichols notes that the 2023 version of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed 83-11 in the U.S. Senate with strong bipartisan support, and the “no” votes ranged from Paul to Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri on the right to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on the left. Meanwhile, in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats who have called for defense cuts include Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City.

“The Military-Industrial Complex isn’t going away,” Nichols argues. “It floods Capitol Hill with lobbyists and fills the campaign coffers of friendly House and Senate members with donations from defense contractors. But if politicians as distinct as Mark Pocan and Rand Paul are both saying that it’s time to cut the Pentagon budget — even if the ideas for what to do with the savings may differ — it’s time to start taking this idea seriously.”

READ MORE: How right-wing 'bloviation' over 'military wokeness' may harm the US armed forces: journalist

Read The Nation’s full article at this link.

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