In his effort to preserve lower tax rates for the wealthy, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is now trying to buy the votes of hawkish members of his party by moving to block any cuts to military spending in the next fiscal year.
The debate over the coming “fiscal cliff” has always included the threat of a a trillion dollars worth of automatic cuts known as “sequestration,” spread evenly between military and non-military spending over the next ten years. That balance is now threatened by Boehner’s ‘Plan B’ legislation, prepared in a bid to circumvent his talks with President Barack Obama on how to avoid the looming set of tax rate increases and spending cuts due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013:
Posted late Dec. 19 by the House Rules Committee, Boehner’s “Plan B” addition would require $19 billion in new discretionary spending cuts. It also would allow the president and the White House Office of Management and Budget to conduct a sequestration round if fiscal 2013 discretionary spending levels exceed specific limits, known as caps.
But the Boehner measure would prohibit the president from tapping the defense budget in 2013 to get under spending caps.
“Any sequestration order issued by the president … to carry out reductions to direct spending for the defense function (050) for fiscal year 2013 … shall have no force or effect,” states the legislation.
Since the ‘Supercommittee’ failed to agree to deficit reduction terms in Nov. 2011, protecting military spending has been a top priority of members of the Republican Party. House Armed Services Committee Chair Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA) has been at the forefront of the effort, clamoring for months that any further cuts in military spending “will force us to pull back further from the world.” Meanwhile, as Congressional Republicans continue claiming to favor a reduction in government spending, the House and Senate are prepared to pass a military spending bill over $1.7 billion dollars above President Obama’s request.