Written by Ben Armbruster
Yesterday, House Republicans moved legislation forward aimed at preventing any reductions in military spending, even if that means cutting much needed programs for the nation’s poorest. The House Armed Services Committee’s bill provides $554 billion for the Pentagon — $29 billion more than DOD had requested — while the GOP-led Budget Committee packaged six bills that would “slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans.”
Last night on Fox News, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed that the Republicans were just trimming the fat from the budget and getting rid of wasteful spending:
VAN SUSTEREN: But these cuts — I mean, these cuts — I mean, some of the cuts, I mean, just — you know, there are — there’s money sitting in our government. There’s some fat that we can.. some of these cuts. I mean — the fat is incredible!
MCCARTHY: Then you would support what we’re doing. That’s we’re doing committee by committee!
Watch the clip:
So what do McCarthy and the GOP consider budget fat? The New York Times today offered some details:
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would push 1.8 million people off food stamps and could cost 280,000 children their school lunch subsidies and 300,000 children their health insurance coverage through the federal and state Children’s Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the social services block grant to state and local governments would hit child abuse prevention programs, Meals on Wheels and child care.
A further 23 million would be affected by the repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, which helps fund child care and disability assistance to low-income Americans.
In fact, eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would more than provide the savings the Republicans are seeking, twice over.
But not only are House Republicans protecting “largely useless” weapons systems and programs by cutting needed social services, their motivation stems from trying to prevent military spending cuts of nearly $500 billion over ten years because of the Budget Control Act’s sequestration trigger. Luckily for the GOP, the Center for American Progress has found more than $500 billion in Pentagon cuts — i.e. the real budget fat — that could be implemented over the next decade while still maintaining our vast military superiority.
While GOP plan has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, the AP noted yesterday that it is “likely just a sample of what’s in store next year from Republicans if Mitt Romney wins the White House and the GOP takes back the Senate.”
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo from republicanconference via flickr
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