As Republicans and Democrats drew the battle lines last week for a yearlong, two-front war over the 2013 Defense budget, their attack plans looked familiar.
Both parties are using last year’s political battles to try to gain an advantage in 2012 in the fight over defense spending/.../
“The debate isn’t really about defense right now — it’s about the deficit, taxes and sequestration,” Todd Harrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said in an email.
“Congress still hasn’t figured out how they are going to tackle the deficit over the long term,” Harrison said. “That was the sticking point in last year’s budget debate and what led to the Budget Control Act and the creation of the supercommittee. But the supercommittee failed to resolve anything, so we are destined to fight the same battles all over again/.../”
But many in Congress don’t expect sequestration to be resolved until after the election, leaving defense cuts as a presidential campaign issue. That’s likely to keep the budget debate standing still for most of 2012, Harrison said.
“Until some of these larger issues begin to come into focus, I don’t think the debate on the Defense budget will progress much,” Harrison said. “Regardless of how this November’s election goes, the budget math is still the same.”