By Barry Blechman and Kara Junttila:
President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request continues the political gamesmanship that has plagued the U.S. government for five years. Exceeding legislated budget caps on both defense and non-defense discretionary spending by $75 billion, the president is show- boating for his core domestic constituencies while trying to undermine Republican claims he is weak on defense. The primary victims of these political games, of course, are the citizens of this country, who once again will be deprived of a government that can plan rationally for the nation’s well-being.
Although the president has continued the game, the new Republican Congress has the opportunity to break the cycle. It could, if it chooses, review both sides of the budget and send the president appropriations that exceed the budget caps more modestly, and remain balanced between defense and non-defense. Such a bill would be hard for Obama to veto. It would require, however, that the Republicans look as closely at waste in the defense budget, as they do on domestic programs.