To Protect Military Budget, House GOP Plans to Cut 25 Percent From Programs "Directly Benefiting the Poor"

Monday, 07 May 2012 13:37 By Ben Armbruster, ThinkProgress | Report
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House Budget CommitteeRep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), center, House Budget Committee chairman, at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 29, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times)

The House Budget Committee is set to meet today on a new GOP plan to stave off further cuts in military spending that are mandated by the Budget Control Act's sequestration trigger. The Pentagon will be required to trim $55 billion from its budget next year and House Republicans think they've figured out a way to prevent that: cut programs for the poor, the AP reports:

The Republicans who control the House are using cuts to food aid, health care and social services like Meals on Wheels to protect the Pentagon from a wave of budget cuts come January. [...]

Fully one-fourth of the House GOP spending cuts come from programs directly benefiting the poor, such as Medicaid, food stamps, the Social Services Block Grant, and a child tax credit claimed by working immigrants.

As CAP's Melissa Boteach, Lawrence Korb and Max Hoffman noted in a report last month, with the cuts they are calling for, House Republicans will be protecting "largely useless" weapons systems, preserving funding for unnecessary programs like the V-22 Osprey, and adding two nuclear submarines to the U.S. military's already "overwhelming preponderance of sea power."

At the same time, the GOP plan would, for example, cut food stamps for 2 million people and reduce the same benefits for 44 million others. Nearly 300,000 school children would lose free school meals and hundreds of thousands could lose their Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last month criticized the GOP's cuts to food stamps, tax credits for immigrant families, and other safety net programs as "unjustified and wrong."

And while the AP notes that the GOP plan "will be dead on arrival" in the Democrat-controlled Senate, "they're 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."

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