So Grover Norquist is throwing a very big monkey wrench into the idea of a lame-duck Grand Bargain to avoid the budget sequester. He says Republicans can indeed find significant cuts in the defense budget, and believes they will do so.
If this is true, and he gets enough of the caucus behind him (after all, this is the same position taken by the progressive caucus, so the numbers might work), there goes the bipartisan wet dream of a Grand Bargain – again. (Yay!) Sounds like he wants Paul Ryan to keep his powder dry for later tax reform:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his would-be vice president Paul Ryan, and defense hawks in Congress are wrong that savings can’t be found in the U.S. defense budget, according to Grover Norquist, the influential president of Americans for Tax Reform, who said that he will fight using any new revenues to keep military spending high.
“We can afford to have an adequate national defense which keeps us free and safe and keeps everybody afraid to throw a punch at us, as long as we don’t make some of the decisions that previous administrations have, which is to over extend ourselves overseas and think we can run foreign governments,” Norquist said Monday at an event at the Center for the National Interest, formerly the Nixon Center.
But Ryan’s views are at odds with those of Norquist and other budget hawks, who argue that defense budgets can be trimmed. Ryan’s budget plan provides for increasing military spending and doesn’t suggest any tradeoff or specific defense reforms.
“Other people need to lead the argument on how can conservatives lead a fight to have a serious national defense without wasting money,” Norquist said. “I wouldn’t ask Ryan to be the reformer of the defense establishment.”
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