The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (also known as the “supercommittee,” because it is made up of equal parts Republican, Democrat, House and Senate) was set up to cut $1.5 trillion from the budget. Though military enthusiasts make a great show of worry for defense spending, they have little to fear: Every member of the committee has benefited from defense industry largesse.
In fact, since 2007 the Democrats on the committee have received more than three times more in defense sector donations than the Republicans have gotten.
Farewell, Medicare. It was fun—or, if not fun, lifesaving—while it lasted. —PZS
The money, however, doesn’t just flow one way. While corporations can’t directly donate funds to candidates, their political action committees, officials and representatives (as well as immediate family members of the latter) do. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, all members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have received significant contributions from the defense sector since 2007. But during the 2010 election cycle, half of the Republicans on the panel—John Kyl, Pat Toomey and Rob Portman—received no donations from either of the two largest defense contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. (These firms reaped approximately $28 billion and $18 billion in contracts, respectively, from the Pentagon that year.) Of the six Democrats on the supercommittee, only Kerry received no contributions from one of the two defense giants
No member of the supercommittee, and no lawmaker in all of Washington, D.C., received more donations from Boeing than co-chair Patty Murray. Of the $3.2 million that the missile-maker dispersed to lawmakers in 2009-2010, the Washington Democrat received $85,860. That sum was $20,000 more than was donated to the next two largest congressional recipients of Boeing money combined, according to data from the Sunlight Foundation.