Among the many critical life lessons you learn when you become a Navy SEAL, the importance of a good plan ranks right up among the top. SEALs are trained to plan relentlessly because having a clear objective and a carefully considered path to achieve it are the cornerstones of any successful operation.
This week Congress is expected to finally approve a budget – a spending plan – for the federal government for fiscal year 2016. At first glance, this may seem like a modest achievement. Passing a budget is one of the most basic responsibilities Congress has.
Yet this budget stands out for two critical reasons.
Photo Credit: AP
The first is that is demonstrates that the Republican majority can govern. While passing a budget is a basic responsibility of Congress, it is one that the Democrats when they had the majority in Congress failed to do. And didn’t just fail to do once, they failed to do it for six years. Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican leadership worked with the new Senate Republican majority to fulfill this most basic duty and show that the Republican majority can govern.
The second, and even more important reason this budget stands out, is because of the deeply held conservative principles it includes. This plan sets the objective of bringing the budget to balance within 10 years and defines the path to get there: significant cuts to federal spending while still providing resources for vital priorities like national defense and support for the men and women veterans who served our country in uniform. Sure, it does not get us to a balanced budget as quick as some would like, however, it moves the needle in that direction.
Measure this budget to the one proposed by President Barack Obama and the contrast in leadership between him and Speaker Boehner becomes crystal clear. President Obama’s proposed budget never balanced and simply disregarded spending caps set by law. The result would have been another decade of deficits and debt. Something his administration would not have to deal with.
Furthermore, as the Daily Caller writes, Obama’s budget is “Nothing But Disappointment For Service Members”. It is almost as if the president desires to further place the budget burden on the backs of our service men and women.
In this Monday, Aug. 27, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Army, U.S. soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne arrive to a yard where they will turn in their vehicles and equipment as part of drawdown of 23,000 U.S. troops by Sept. 30, 2012 at the Kandahar Air Field south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. military has started the process of moving out thousands of MRAPS, Humvees and other vehicles as part of the drawdown of 23,000 U.S. troops by the end of September. It is a massive logistical undertaking involving several yards on bases around the country.Credit: AP
The Obama plan included no responsible way to increase defense spending without busting the federal spending caps and triggering a sequester that imposes across-the-board defense spending cuts. These cuts would indiscriminately devastate Defense programs without regard to their importance to Americans fighting on our behalf around the world or their families.
The budget overseen by the House Republican leadership, embraced by the new Senate GOP majority and about to be passed did the exact opposite. The budget introduced by Speaker Boehner gets the nation’s books balanced within 10 years and addressed the spending caps without incurring across-the-board cuts that threaten our military.
The Republican budget cuts federal spending by $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Conservatives will rightfully call for more, but this is a step in the right direction for our country. More can and should be done moving forward. And for those who criticize these cuts as too much, the U.S. federal government will still spend $43 trillion over the next decade – that is more then plenty to meet our needs.
While getting us to a balanced budget, the Republican budget plan still provides critical resources for defense. The plan, unlike the current administration, recognizes that we face a number of grave and rising threats around the world from Islamic State to an aggressive Iran and an expansionist China. So House Republicans led the way to increase defense spending beyond what the president proposed.
The Republican budget thankfully includes extensive funding for training and equipment to ensure our military remains the best, most well-equipped fighting force the world has ever known. As someone who relied on that training and equipment to protect my SEAL teammates and myself when we prepared and fought our countries enemies, I can personally vouch for how important those resources are.
The Republican budget also demonstrates a commitment, in contrast with the Obama administration, to ensure veterans receive the world-class benefits and services that they earned. While putting the government on a path to a balanced budget, the Republican majority increased funding for Department of Veterans Affairs health care.
The budget Congress is expected to pass this week, like any plan, is just a start. The next step is a relentless focus on execution. But it’s a start that conservatives can be proud and supportive of and portends for more good conservative governance from the Republican majority in Congress.
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