From the moment they came in to office, a number of the “Tea Party” darlings in Congress were talking openly about cutting Defense Department spending, something which earned them scorn from the military and condemnation from many of the establishment Republicans, for whom military spending can only go in one direction – up.
Those calls quieted down considerably at a particularly inopportune time, when the massive budget deficit debate began. But now, some of the grassroots groups that command the loyalty of the key voting bloc are remembering what they were saying in January, and are renewing calls for military spending cuts.
Is it a serious push this time? It isn’t clear but Republican leadership seems to be taking it as one, and has avoided putting its most pro-war, pro-spending Congressmen on the new “supercommittee.” This conspicuous absence was quickly lashed by one such Congressman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R – CA), who termed the lack of hawks on the supercommittee a “national security crisis.”
Still, Rep. Pelosi (D – CA) hasn’t announced the Democrats from the House, and Sen. Harry Reid (D – NV) put defense industry darling Patty Murray (D – WA) on the Senate version, so it seems that even if the military hardware enthusiasts on the Republican side of the aisle are absent, the Pentagon and its associated weapons dealers will likely be well represented.