McCarthy may have just torpedoed GOP hopes of boosting the defense budget

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Hawks had hoped to pad Pentagon spending with a supplemental later this year. That just got much harder.

It’s unclear if the GOP leader will budge in the coming months, but if not, Republicans who had supported the debt limit deal despite the defense caps may have no avenue to alter it., the lead advocate for a defense supplemental, doubled down Tuesday on arguments that the current cap on funding was not enough to outpace inflation or China, and that he would keep fighting.

Defense hawks in the House who want to use a supplemental to pad the Pentagon will have a tough task getting past McCarthy, who’s under pressure from his right flank to gut spending. A push to hike only defense could also be complicated if Democrats seek more domestic funding in exchange for their likely needed votes., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said he’d support a supplemental to ensure the Pentagon keeps pace with inflation, but feared it would tear open the debt deal.

to oust him from the speakership over federal spending. It marks a major tilt politically in favor of fiscal conservatives, as it’s been years since a Republican speaker has come out publicly against a defense spending increase. Wittman was pessimistic on lawmakers’ ability to pad the defense budget with a supplemental, noting that emergency funds have typically been linked to emerging threats, however loosely.


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