NTU Statement on Potential Defense Cuts in the 118th Congress

National Taxpayers Union (NTU) Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz shared the following statement on reporting that House Republicans will seek to cap discretionary spending at fiscal year (FY) 2022 levels for FY 2024, and the impact of those caps on the nation’s defense budget:

“Our nation is $31 trillion in debt and counting, and is projected to run a nearly $1 trillion deficit this year alone. Any comprehensive solution to the federal government’s fiscal woes must include reductions to both non-defense and defense spending. One encouraging part of the emerging framework from House Republicans is the potential inclusion of defense spending cuts in the FY 2024 budget.

The U.S. military has hardly been starved of resources in recent years. As NTU Foundation recently found, defense spending increased 27 percent from 2021 to 2023 – well above inflation. And that figure does not include more than $100 billion in additional spending for Ukraine. The Pentagon can sustain a single-digit percentage spending cut, if lawmakers work with military leaders to implement those cuts.

The reported framework negotiated between House Republican leadership and several lawmakers would cap FY 2024 spending at FY 2022 levels, which some have pointed out would amount to a $75 billion cut to defense spending relative to the current fiscal year, FY 2023. Already, some lawmakers are trying to stop these cuts from being implemented. This would be a mistake.

Responsibly reducing the size of the defense budget will not be easy, but there are bipartisan paths forward for lawmakers that could also open the door to meaningful cuts in non-defense and even mandatory spending. Just last month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office laid out tens of billions of dollars in potential cuts to the Pentagon budget. NTU Foundation highlighted just six options that collectively could reduce defense spending by $102 billion over 10 years. There is waste and inefficient spending to cut, if lawmakers undertake the hard work to do so.”

For more, see NTU Foundation resources here and here.