Elected to Congress last November, Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler campaigned as both a Religious Right activist and as a Tea Party adherent. But while she literally wrote the book on how and why ultraconservative Christians should run for office, she has had trouble staying true to her anti-government Tea Party rhetoric— she has received hundreds of thousands of dollars of government farm subsidies and, during her campaign, couldn’t name any programs she would cut funding to other than “the Lady Bird Highway Beautification projects.”
In an interview on Sunday with The National Defense, Hartzler swore off any cuts to the Defense budget, denying that Defense costs have increased and claiming that Republicans in Congress already “passed $2.7 trillion in costs savings and cutting the budget.”
Spending on Defense actually outpaces all other discretionary spending programs combined, with estimated spending well over $708 billion in the 2011 fiscal year. In fact, defense spending is approaching 5% of US GDP and comprises about 44% of the global total of defense spending. And while Hartzler claims that “defense isn’t the area in our government where we have increased costs,” Laicie Olson of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation points out that in “inflation-adjusted dollars, the total U.S. defense budget has grown from $432 billion in fiscal 2001 to $720 billion in fiscal 2011, a real increase of approximately 67 percent.”
But perhaps even more outrageous is Hartzler’s that House have managed to cut $2.7 trillion from the budget since they took over as the majority in January. Her figure falls far short of the budget proposals by the GOP leadership, and the House Republicans’ Pledge to America is actually projected to significantly increase the deficit. While the congresswoman included the House’s symbolic vote to “repeal Obamacare” in her dramatic $2.7 trillion total, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing health care reform “would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade.”
Listen to Hartzler laud the GOP’s budget policies while distorting defense spending and coming up with imaginary budget numbers:
Defense isn’t the area in our government where we have increased the costs; it’s in these other areas of government. So let’s look at those areas and cut there, and let’s keep a priority to our men and women who are fighting a war on two fronts. Now is not the time to even be talking about cuts in my view.
We’ve only had a limited amount of time to do things, but I feel good about the three weeks that we had what we’ve accomplished. We voted to change the way Washington works, or Congress works I should say, by first and foremost in the second or third day in session we voted to cut our own House budget by five percent, saving $35 million, as a sign to show the American people that we get it and we’re going to start with us. We know that families and businesses are having to tighten their belts, and we think Washington needs to as well.
And then we have passed $2.7 trillion in costs savings and cutting the budget. Every week we are going to be voting to cut government in some way so we have been doing that and we’re going to continue doing that. And so far, if you include repealing ‘Obamacare,’ that’s $2.7 trillion that we have saved. We are serious.