- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 8, 2023

Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and the incoming chair of the Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that everything must be on table to cut in order to rein in federal spending — including the Pentagon’s budget and “all the ‘woke’ in our military.”

“We’ve got a $32 trillion debt, everything has to be on the table. We’re on pace to spend $500, $600 billion in debt payments just to deal with interest payments,” Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Frankly, maybe if we would focus our military spending on the soldiers and not having so many generals — the ratio of general officers to enlisted individuals now is so out of whack.”

House Republicans have their sights set on reining in what they call out-of-control spending. That means investigating past government relief under the pandemic and potentially cutting entitlements, assistance programs and foreign aid while increasing oversight of agencies like the FBI and the IRS as well the Biden administration’s southern border policies. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, made a concession to win over conservative holdouts in his bid for the speakership that the chamber would cap spending at fiscal 2022 levels in the next budget due Oct. 1, teeing up debate over what funding should be slashed.

While the defense budget is on the list, Republicans plan to first evaluate funding for agencies like the IRS and the Justice Department, and potentially modify programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that eat up large portions of the government’s annual spending. 

Some conservatives have increasingly argued that defense spending, particularly funding that goes to contractors, has become bloated and wasteful, a view that mirrors that of many Democrats. Republicans like Mr. Jordan also want to root out “woke” policies dealing with transgender recruits and racial bias. 

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“If we’d focus on getting rid of all the ‘woke’ in our military, we’d have the money we need to make sure our troops get the pay raise they deserve, we’d have the weapons systems and training that needs to be done so that we’re ready to deal with our adversaries around the planet,” Mr. Jordan said.

He also suggested that aid to Ukraine should be on the chopping block, a foreign policy issue over which Republicans disagree.

“Frankly, we’d better look at the money we send to Ukraine as well and say, ‘How can we best spend the money to protect America?’” Mr. Jordan said.

Those who support the assistance, more than $100 billion of which the U.S. has provided since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, argue that it’s cheaper to help defeat Moscow’s advances now rather than getting involved militarily in the future if it wins the war and becomes emboldened.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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