Fiscal Responsibility

Afternoon Roundup: Priorities Edition

The recaps are in from yesterday’s mark-up of House Republicans’ reconciliation bill, and it certainly isn’t pretty. We’ve picked a few of our favorites that demonstrate the awfulness of the Republican bill. Enjoy:

Politico: GOP: Shield Pentagon, cut poverty programs

“Setting the stage for an emotional floor fight Thursday, House Republicans pushed ahead Monday evening with plans to protect increased defense spending without raising taxes, largely by cutting more from domestic programs, including aid to the poor. The stark choices incorporated in the giant bill will have an immediate impact on working-class and immigrant families…”

“The bill reported by the House Budget Committee on Monday evening is the most serious Republican attempt yet to forestall those cuts for defense but only by substituting alternative domestic savings…Lashing back at Obama, Republicans have targeted his health care and financial markets reforms as major targets in the new savings package, totaling over $310 billion over 10 years. But tens of billions would also come from food stamps, Medicaid and child tax credit refunds — a major shift of resources from the social safety net to the Pentagon.”

“The $519.2 billion allocated for the Pentagon’s core budget represents an increase of $1.1 billion over the current year and $3.1 billion above Obama’s request for 2013. As such, it fits into a larger decision by the House GOP to break with the spending caps set in the debt accords reached last summer. On balance, Republicans would devote about $8 billion more to defense appropriations than anticipated under the Budget Control Act while non-defense spending would face a net loss of $27 billion.”

WSJ: House Bill Shields Defense From Cuts

“House Republicans, seeking to prevent defense-spending cuts at the end of the year, advanced a plan that would instead reduce spending on health-care programs, food aid and other major domestic initiatives of the Obama administration. The bill developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) would cut about $261 billion in domestic spending over the next decade and roll back portions of the 2010 health-care law and the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.”

A sizable portion of the domestic cuts in the House GOP bill come from programs benefiting the poor, including food stamps, Medicaid, and a child tax credit. It abolishes the Social Services Block Grant, a decades-old state-aid measure that provided $1.7 billion last year for programs such as Meals on Wheels. The bill also calls for cutting federal pension costs by increasing federal workers' contributions.”

“The GOP bill also included budget cuts reflecting major conservative priorities, including the repeal of a fund established by the Dodd-Frank law to shore up financial institutions deemed ‘too big to fail.’”

NY Times: House Bill Offers Aid Cuts to Save Military Spending

“The Republican-led House this week will lay bare the choice between social programs and Pentagon spending in an age of austerity when it takes up legislation to slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans over the next decade to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year.”

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 quarter of the cuts in the bill would come from programs for the poor. Cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized insurance premiums under the health care law make up more than a third of the package’s savings, or $108 billion over 10 years.”

“The bill would also eliminate a fund set up by the 2010 Wall Street regulation law and financed by the big banks that would be used in the event of future bailouts. Republicans say that would save $22.4 billion over 10 years because a bailout within that window could exceed the size of the fund. And caps on medical malpractice lawsuits would save the government $40 billion to $56 billion over a decade, according to the legislation.”

Democrats had the raw Congressional Budget Office numbers on their side: $23.5 billion from Medicaid and children’s health care, $4.2 billion from hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured, and $33.7 billion from supplemental nutrition assistance. Republicans say they have the details on their side. Spending on the child tax credit for working poor families would be curtailed by demanding that recipients produce a Social Security number. Cuts to Medicaid would come in part by repealing so-called maintenance-of-effort regulations on the states that mandate coverage. Republicans say without such strings, state governments will find a more efficient way to provide health care for the poor.”