In this image provided by the U.S. Navy the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is underway as part of Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility Monday March 19, 2012. (AP Photo/US Navy, Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman)
A long-expected internecine Republican fight over defense spending evaporated this week when Tea Party fiscal hawks joined GOP military hawks to back Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, a surprise outcome few predicted.
“There will be no circular Republican firing squad and it is the defense hawks who can count themselves the big winner in the budget debate,” said Michael Franc, the Heritage Foundation vice president for government studies who picks a Washington winner each week for Secrets.
“It wasn’t so long ago that the divide and conquer scenario seemed the most plausible outcome. Self-styled Tea Party lawmakers spoke openly about the need to ‘put everything on the table’ and slash defense spending alongside domestic programs. Defense hawks, bemoaning the ‘libertarian’’” flavor of Tea Party activism, complained that the new breed of Republican lawmaker was more concerned with budget deficits than military strength,” Franc said.
“Well, those fears seem to have abated since the details of the Ryan budget plan have emerged,” he added.
Ryan, the budget chairman, built his budget to please both sides, said Franc. Ryan, he explained, “defined our strategic missions first and then fashioned a budget to meet those considerations.” And Heritage defense expert Baker Spring said that the lack of a defense spending feud “sends the right message to America’s adversaries: We will not let the military become a hollow force.”