The House of Boehner has officially voted to pass the bill that would overt the automatically-triggered cuts to the Pentagon agreed to under the Budget Control Act (the debt-ceiling deal) by cutting social programs instead.
The House of Representatives voted Thursday afternoon to pass the GOP’s plan to replace the sequestration or automatic cuts that would have slashed the defense budget with another set of budget reductions that curtail domestic programs.
The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which passed 218-199 with one member voting present, received no Democratic support. Sixteen House Republicans joined 183 House Democrats in opposition.
The bill, designed by Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, aims at stopping waste in the food-stamp program by ensuring that individuals are actually eligible for the taxpayer benefits they receive. It also would slash Medicaid spending and cut funding to implement Obama’s health care law.
The social programs the House GOP has chosen to cut instead of the Pentagon include food-stamps, school lunches for needy children, Medicaid, and the Prevention and Public Health Fund included in Obamacare. The total amount cut from these programs would exceed $310 billion over ten years and would result in as many as 20 million children facing reduced food and nutrition support, over 300,000 losing their assisted school lunches, and over 300,000 would lose their state children’s health insurance.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have already submitted a budget proposal accounting for the upcoming automatic-cuts and have expressed their satisfaction with it, for which Paul Ryan accused them of lying, but the Republicans are literally trying to force more money on the Pentagon anyway. This leaves their motives as entirely suspect.
The reason the automatic-triggers agreed to under the Budget Control Act were evenly split between the Pentagon and social programs was to give Democrats leverage to force an agreement on tax reform. This latest move by the Republicans is an attempt to weasel their way out of the corner President Obama maneuvered them into by placing all of the cuts on social programs, and it’s not going to work.