GOP controlled House votes to cut social programs
Moving to protect the Pentagon, Republicans controlling the House are pressing cuts to food stamps, health care and pensions for federal workers as an alternative to an automatic 10 percent cut to the military come January.
The automatic spending cuts, totaling $98 billion next year in a new estimate, are punishment for the failure of last year’s deficit-reduction “supercommittee” to strike a deal. Lawmakers in both parties want to avoid the automatic cuts, but Democrats are strongly opposed to the GOP approach, which slices more than $300 billion from domestic programs over the coming decade while preventing the Pentagon from absorbing a $55 billion blow to its budget next year.
The butter for guns swap faces a veto threat from the White House and rejection by the Democratic Senate, which say the GOP measure unfairly hits the middle-class and the poor. Democrats are making it plain they expect any effort to turn off the automatic spending cuts to include additional taxes. The resulting deadlock is highly unlikely to be resolved before Election Day.
The measure contains cuts supplied by six different House committees and includes changes to the food stamp program that would remove almost 2 million recipients through tighter enforcement of eligibility rules and would cut back a 2009 benefit increase, costing a family of four $57 a month. Federal workers would have to contribute 5 percentage points more of their pay toward pension plans that are more generous than most private sector workers receive.