House Republican Whip Tom Emmer on Monday fired back at accusations from the White House that the GOP is working to “defund” the military amid debate behind the scenes about defense spending levels.
Republicans are feuding behind the scenes over whether cuts to defense spending are necessary for the new 118th Congress under the leadership of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Part of the reported deal between McCarthy and the GOP defectors that were refusing to back his speakership bid was that discretionary spending for fiscal year (FY) 2024 would be capped at the FY 2022 levels for the next 10 years.
In addition, incoming House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio said that “everything” has to be on the table in order to cut government spending, including the Defense Department, while other Republicans have said that military funding should not be touched.
The White House seized on Republican strife in a statement to Fox News Digital Monday, in which a spokesperson accused Republicans of pushing to “defund” the U.S. military.
“This push to defund our military in the name of politics is senseless and out of line with our national security needs,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates.
“There is bipartisan opposition to defense cuts because making us less capable of keeping the American people safe and advancing our national security interests would be a profound mistake that our nation cannot afford,” he continued.
New GOP Whip Emmer took issue with the White House’s assessment of internal Republican politics, saying the Biden administration is “peddling lies” to distract from approaching investigations.
“The Biden administration is peddling lies because they are terrified House Republicans will soon hold them accountable for the bloated bureaucracy and reckless spending that has built up under Democrats’ one-party rule,” Emmer, R-Minn., said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said over the weekend that cuts to defense spending levels “were never discussed” during GOP negotiations with McCarthy, R-Calif., over the speakership and said the claim that Republicans are looking to cut the Pentagon is “a lie.”
McCarthy’s agreement to cut spending back to 2022 levels is not in the rules package and exists as a separate concession he made to Republicans en route to becoming House speaker.
Emmer predicted earlier Monday on “Fox & Friends” that GOP members on the fence about voting for the rules package will eventually “come around” when “they realize the things that they want to talk about are in this separate agreement.”
“And the argument is this would affect defense spending, which I’m here to tell you guys, Republicans will not impact defense spending,” said Emmer. “Aside from the efficiencies and waste, it’s the domestic spending that we’re going to go after.”
The House’s first action Monday under McCarthy will be to vote on the rules package, which will require the support of 218 lawmakers to pass.