Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) tested his colleagues’ commitment to deficit reduction with his amendment Thursday to freeze Department of Defense appropriations for FY2012 at the FY2011 level. “This is not, Mr. Chairman, a new idea. This is not even my idea. The Domenici and Rivlin deficit reduction plan also proposed exactly this: freezing base defense spending at 2011 levels,” the Congressman said on the floor. Although the amendment lost, 135 members (nearly evenly split between the parties) voted for the freeze.
Noteworthy, is the fact that Rep. Mulvaney comes from a state with deep and historic ties to the defense industry and the military. This kind of courageous action has to become the norm in Congress if true fiscal reform can ever succeed. Freezes in both defense and non-defense discretionary appropriations were key components of the debt reduction plan promulgated by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.
One can only hope that his colleagues will follow Mulvaney’s lead as the budget talks move into the entitlement areas of spending, which comprise well more than half of all federal outlays.
While the Mulvaney Amendment was voted down, the Congressman gains a lot of influence with his colleagues by not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Congratulations to Rep. Mulvaney for his leadership.
The relevant portion begins at the 0:30 mark.