Just weeks after Democratic leaders chose to put their budget resolution for the fiscal year 2020 on hold, a group of House Republicans has released a detailed budget. The House Republicans believe that the detailed budget proposal will serve as a “playbook” for the proper way to govern if and when they regain the majority.
The Republican Study Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Mike Johnson, called the Democrats failure to present a budget an “abdication of responsibility.” They also said that they were “ready and willing to fill that vacuum of leadership” with its own budget.
In an interview with reporters, Johnson said: “It’s fairly obvious they have some internal squabbles in their conference and they don’t want to bring a budget to the floor because it will expose those riffs. We will have the only budget in Congress, and we’re happy to present it.”
The budget’s proposal is intended to reduce spending by $12.6 trillion over 10 years and to balance the budget by 2025. It also contains policy proposals to reform entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, make Republican-passed tax cuts permanents, and continue to cute regulations.
The budget also proposed $745 billion in defense spending for 2020. It also proposes a total of $7.73 trillion in defense spending over the next 10 years that will focus on modernizing and expanding the military’s “nuclear, cyber, and outer space capacities.”
“Regardless of the advances and investments made in America’s conventional forces, a failure in U.S. capabilities with regards to nuclear weapons, cyberspace and outer space can render our conventional military incapacitated and leave our homeland vulnerable to attack,” states the budget.
Johnson has said that choosing to identify new categories of essential spending is a “reality of life.” Johnson continued by saying: “Just a few years ago nobody thought about outer space capabilities, it’s a whole new category of spending. Some people say that’s not necessary, but our adversaries in other nations are beginning to develop in those areas so we have to do it as well.”
Johnson continued by saying: “This is the reality of life in the 21st century, there are new and expanding areas we need to provide for in national defense.” The budget specifically points to active threats in space from the adversaries.
“A single nuclear device, detonated at high altitudes, can produce an EMP capable of destroying electronic devices and power grids over a large region of the U.S. This threat, and the developments of both the Russians and Chinese to produce anti-satellite weapons, highlights the need for the U.S. military to centralize military space functions under a Space Force so the United States can continue to enhance its presence and capacities in outer space,” says the budget. “This budget supports the goals of President Trump to ensure the U.S. is capable of intercepting long range missiles, most of which would traverse space if used, and can have adequate offensive and defensive abilities with regards to satellites,” it says.
The budget also points to the attempted North Korean cyber attacks as the reason for further investment in cyber operations. “The failure of our military to adequately defend cyberspace could allow an adversary to incapacitate our entire electrical grid, and with it, the economic and physical systems that without which, would bring our nation to [the] edge of destruction and threaten the lives of almost everyone in the nation. This is not simply a future threat; North Korea has already engaged in this realm with repeated cyber-attacks on Americans.”
Rep. Jim Banks, the chairman of the RDC’s budget and spending task force has said that Democrats have “failed a fundamental leadership test by not bringing a budget to the floor.” He continued by saying: “We heard a lot of talk last year from Democrats about addressing spending and the national debt. Now with the left wing of the party taking over control, pushing initiatives like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, it’s hard to see where they come to a place where they can address the national debt.” The budget specifically makes reference to the Green New Deal and its “several impossible and harmful goals it seeks to complete within 10 years.” It’s unclear whether the budget proposal will be brought to a vote.