GOP budget plan to radically slash social programs, but no cuts for the Pentagon
Moving to protect the military from a crippling wave of budget cuts next year, a key House committee voted Monday to cut instead food aid, health care and social services like Meals on Wheels.
The measure would require federal employees to contribute more to their pensions, saving taxpayers more than $80 billion over the coming decade, while illegal immigrants would be denied tax refunds from the $1,000 per-child tax credit. There’s no companion legislation moving in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the proposal doesn’t stand a chance of making it to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature.
But the vote was a symbolic swipe at Obama in an election year focused on the economy.
The cuts approved by the Republican-controlled Budget Committee total more than $300 billion over the coming decade. The panel approved them on a party-line 21-9 vote; the full House is scheduled to vote on the measure on Thursday.
The cuts are 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. Romney promises much tougher cuts to domestic programs and an even bigger boost in the Pentagon’s budget, while the House GOP budget promises sharp cuts to Medicaid and a dramatic overhaul of Medicare for future beneficiaries.
The emphasis is mine because this is bascially what the upcoming election is all about. Do we vote to help the dsiadvantaged or do we vote to help out major corporations?
But Democrats say Republicans are unfairly targeting the poor and vulnerable. They believe that legislation to prevent the Pentagon cuts should include tax increases that strike wealthier people.
Top Budget panel Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said the food aid cuts would mean 280,000 children would lose free school lunches and 1.8 million people — out of 46 million currently covered — would lose food stamp benefits while large agricultural businesses would continue to receive lucrative subsidies. The GOP plan would carve 4 percent from projected food stamp spending over the coming decade, including repeal of a 2009 benefits boost under Obama’s economic stimulus measure that currently awards an additional $57 a month to a family of four.
“This plan hits the food and nutrition programs but totally exempts all the agricultural subsidies,” Van Hollen said.
What a clever idea, cut off school lunch programs but make sure agricultural subsidies aren’t going anywhere.
Stepping into the debate, however, has been the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who forcefully oppose cuts to programs that help the poor and vulnerable, singling out cuts to food stamps as “unjustified and wrong” and assailing the effort to deny the child tax credit to undocumented workers as sure to thrust vulnerable children into poverty. The vast majority of children who would be affected by the tax credit proposal are U.S. citizens.
At least Paul Ryan believes in his church more than Ayn Rand, so maybe he will have a change of heart.
“But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
Oh, uh maybe not.