Late last week, the Niskanen Center signed on to an open letter to Representative Tom Price (R-MI), chairman of the House Budget Committee. The letter encourages Chairman Price to maintain the caps on defense spending established by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) in the upcoming budget resolution for fiscal 2016. The letter states that the $499 billion cap set by the BCA exceeds the level enacted for FY 2015. It also urges resistance to ongoing efforts to use the overseas contingency operations account as a slush fund due to its exemption from the BCA limits.

Perhaps the most important section of the letter comes toward the end:

Much of the recent press on the Pentagon budget revolves around the specter of the return of across-the-board sequestration cuts supposedly wreaking havoc on defense planning. The simple fact is that, if the budget hews to the spending levels set out in the BCA, there are no “meat axe” across-the-board-cuts, just responsible budgeting.

This point is important, as defense officials and hawkish members of Congress continually cite the prospect of sequestration as an excuse to avoid making hard decisions about what and where to cut. The fact is, the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. The initial sequestration of funds took place in March 2013. Since then, the Pentagon has had plenty of time to plan according to the BCA spending limit. Abetted by White House desires to raise domestic spending, the Pentagon has avoided that responsibility.

The entire letter can be found here.