Republican rips GOP over budgets

Conservative Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is bashing his GOP colleagues for the budget blueprints that passed both chambers of Congress last week. 

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal late Sunday, Mulvaney criticized House and Senate Republicans for a provision that would allow increased defense spending without breaching spending caps imposed by a 2011 law. 

“With fiscal concerns no longer in vogue, House Republicans broke the statutory caps of the Budget Control Act (BCA) and did so in a way that wasn’t honest,” Mulvaney wrote. 

Republicans took the BCA and “threw it out the window,” Mulvaney said, adding, “The truth is that the GOP lost.” 

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Mulvaney, who serves on the House Financial Services, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees, rejected how the Republican budgets increase military spending by pumping up the Pentagon’s war fund, known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account. 

The separate GOP resolutions adopted in the House and Senate last week would essentially increase the OCO to $96 billion next year but require no offsets. President Obama has asked Congress to change the spending caps that return in October and approve $58 billion in OCO funding.

“The story behind the GOP budget has little to do with defending the nation. It has everything to do with the deficit. Put another way: All Republicans want a strong military; not all of us want to pay for it,” Mulvaney argued.

Mulvaney and other deficit hawks had a problem with the lack of offsets and insisted on votes on the original blueprint, which would require them, and a vote on the budget that ultimately prevailed.

GOP leaders openly endorsed the budget that increased the OCO without offsets, after defense hawks repeatedly demanded the change.  

“Because of the hard decisions that defense hawks and deficit hawks had made together, Republicans were gaining the moral high ground on spending,” Mulvaney said. “Last week we lost it, and it will be harder to regain the next time.” 

Passing the blueprints last week was only GOP lawmakers' first hurdle. Their next step is reconciling the differences between the two budgets and passing a joint conference agreement. If an agreement is struck and adopted in the House and Senate, Republicans will be able to trigger a budget procedure, known as reconciliation, to pass major policy changes.