Like a good Republican serving after President H.W. Bush’s disastrous no-new-taxes pledge, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) has never voted for a tax increase. He doesn’t plan on it either. But asked by Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake if he’d back tax increases to spare defense, here’s the House Armed Services Committee chairman’s highly qualified response:
This is just me. This is probably a good way to lose an election, but that’s not the reason I’m here. If it came that I had only two choices -- one was a tax increase, one was cut defense over and above where we are -- I would go to strengthen defense.
McKeon was speaking at the American Enterprise Institute making the case for keeping defense spending at the level already agreed to by Congress in the Budget Control Act -- at least $350 billion.