President Trump wanted to make a deal. He ended up allowing Democrats to hold a gun to defense spending. At least that's the argument of the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.
First among defense hawks, Thornberry has been busy absolutely savaging the Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal. The Republican hasn't been shy about blaming Trump for letting Congress hold military funding "hostage."
"Half-measures, such as the one negotiated by the president and Democrats this week, present a stark risk," Thornberry writes in Friday's Washington Post. "Continuing to govern from fiscal cliff to fiscal cliff — as we have done for years now — forces the military to limp along on stopgap funding and would shortchange it over $60 billion through fiscal year 2018."
While continuing resolutions allow politicians to maneuver, they don't lend themselves to military preparedness. Want more accidents similar to those aboard the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald? Want equipment to keep breaking down as North Korea ratchets up its nuclear program? Then keep funding the military with a patchwork of continuing resolutions.
That's a standard issue argument from defense hawks and it's one that the president's base might find convincing. Again and again, during the campaign, Trump promised to restock American arsenals and rebuild a military depleted by his predecessor.
Less than a year into this presidency, Thornberry and company are beginning to publicly question those promises.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.