(Oct. 17, 2017) Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., is ready to lift the budget caps that have stymied efforts to increase defense spending since they were created in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Reed, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday that lawmakers should begin talks to do away with the caps, known as sequestration, as negotiations begin over the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. The caps affect both defense and nondefense spending.
“That is a great concern of mine because I have not seen the kind of action which typically should be bicameral and bipartisan, and involving the White House, taking place,” Reed said, according to Politico. “I haven’t seen those types of serious discussions. Those discussions have to start immediately.”
Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and service chiefs of staff and secretaries, have blamed the spending limits for a lack of readiness throughout the armed forces. NGAUS, too, has strongly and frequently urged Congress to get rid of the caps.
The House and Senate have each approved versions of the defense authorization policy bill that exceed the caps by tens of billions of dollars. This nearly forces the hands of lawmakers to either raise or eliminate the caps. The other option is to approve a bill that is far smaller in terms of money than they have already approved.