Democrats Not Budging On Defense Budget Cuts Or Tax Cuts

Democrats taking a hard-line on both looming defense cuts and expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

As we continue along in the final year of a term that promised to promote open dialogue and bipartisan cooperation, Newser reports that high ranking Democrats like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the President are refusing to back down on impending $550,000,000,000 cuts to the defense budget set to kick in next year or on their refusal to renew Bush-era tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 annually.

Although Republicans remain staunchly opposed to both measures, the President believes that they will be forced to give in, citing Republicans’ diminishing leverage since 2010. And Democrats believe that if a solution on the nation’s budgetary problems can’t be reached, Republicans will face the fallout from whatever economic consequences that follow and for their failure to compromise.

What sort of compromise, one might reasonably wonder? Politico reports that while Obama outlined the aforementioned inflexible attitude in a meeting with high-level Democrats last week, publicly Democrats claim they would be willing to wheel and deal a bit on those defense cuts if Republicans agree to some tax hikes.

The Democrats’ position comes in light of what they see as a more robust economy capable of handling higher taxes and a shift in public opinion in their favor and in favor of increased tax burdens for higher earners. At large, the Democratic party supports the termination of tax cuts but is somewhat mixed on its feelings towards the $550,000,000,000 cuts in defense spending, which is set to begin next year and will slash $55,000,000,000 every year for ten years as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. House Democrats are particularly divided, as representatives are more sensitive to the needs and concerns of the defense industry. According to New Jersey Representative Rob Andrews, “Defense contractors are starting to make employment decisions and send layoff notices to people now, which is very destructive…I would hope we could do something about this in September. … I think waiting until December is not very smart.”

For what it’s worth, the Secretary of Defense has stated that the proposed cuts to military spending would be “devastating” to national security. Under the current budget proposal, other budgetary cuts would go into effect as well, though Medicare and Social Security would be spared. And predictably, while Republicans are for diminished spending they prefer that the cuts come out of domestic programs rather than defense spending.

Politics as usual, I suppose.