Top House Republicans say the Pentagon’s budget will be on the table as Republicans seek to negotiate spending cuts in exchange for raising the federal debt ceiling — and have placed a bullseye on “wokeness” in the military.
Exactly what that means remains somewhat unclear, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and others in his caucus have pointed to programs including efforts to diversify the military, identify alternative fuels and other environmental initiatives.
“We’re going to cut money that’s being spent on wokeism, we’re going to cut legacy programs, we’re going to cut a lot of waste,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Hill on Wednesday. . . .
. . . . While eliminating “woke” programs appears to have broad support within the House GOP, there appears to be some opposition to topline cuts to defense spending.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement he supported defunding programs like diversity and inclusion training but wanted to increase spending for the Navy.
“I won’t vote for a bill that cuts defense spending, and I think most of the conference agrees with me,” Banks said. . . .
. . . .“Does defense getting more than $800 billion, are there areas that I think they could be more efficient in? Yeah,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy said told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“Eliminate all the money spent on ‘wokeism.’ Eliminate all the money that they’re trying to find different fuels and they’re worried about the environment to go through.” . . .
. . . Scott told The Hill that if Congress needs to make cuts in the defense budget, “let’s start with the woke ideology and finish with the bureaucracy.”
“The recruiting and retention in the military is at an all-time low, and the DoD needs to quit focusing on the woke ideology and focus on the mission of supporting our warfighters,” Scott said in a statement.
The Defense Department has an office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that could be a target along with its programs and long-term strategies.
In 2011, the Pentagon released a five-year diversity and inclusion strategy that included formally lifting a combat exclusion for women, making diversity expansion an institutional priority and creating a chief diversity officer position. It still has several more goals to meet on the diversity front, according to an inspector general report released last year.
Republicans have previously sought to defund those practices. A bill introduced last year by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, proposed cutting resources for diversity training. . . . . (read more on The Hill)