Reportedly, part of the deal with Republican detractors would be capping entire federal budget to 2022 levels.

by Connor Echols, Responsible Statecraft

After days of negotiations, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is considering cutting the Pentagon budget by $75 billion in order to gain the support of roughly two dozen Republicans who have opposed his bid to become speaker of the House, according to Bloomberg.

The cut is reportedly part of an “emerging deal” that would cap government spending at 2022 levels, meaning that it would return defense spending to $782 billion — a sharp drop from this year’s allotment of $857 billion.

According to Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy at National Taxpayers Union and regular RS contributor, this could end up being a bigger cut than people think.

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House

“I would argue the cut would be larger than $75 billion. That’s a $75 billion cut relative to FY 2023 levels. CBO is not out with their new baseline yet but I imagine they’re now projecting a larger than $857 billion national defense topline for FY 2024,” Lautz wrote in an email after this story broke. “Relative to that new expectation, a $782 billion flat FY 2024 topline might be closer to an $100 billion cut.”

If any deal does go through, it would still represent one of the largest single-year reductions in the Pentagon’s budget in history. But that is, of course, a big “if.” It remains unclear whether the agreement will be enough to end days of battles in the House over who will serve as speaker, and it’s far from certain that McCarthy will have the power to ensure that such dramatic cuts are actually enacted.

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