House Passes Rep. Ryan’s Sequester Replacement Plan
(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the GOP’s plan to replace the sequestration cuts to defense, drawing a sharp contrast between each political party’s priorities and values in Congress.
The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which passed 218-199 with one member voting present, received no Democratic support. Sixteen House Republicans joined 183 House Democrats in opposition.
The bill, designed by Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, aims at stopping waste in the food stamp program by ensuring that individuals are actually eligible for the taxpayer benefits they receive. Republicans also contend federal workers are currently receiving more lucrative retirement benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
Democrats contend that the legislation weakens reforms put into place following the financial crisis, but GOP says it will save billions of taxpayer dollars by prohibiting future bailouts for those perceived "too big to fail.”
Republicans warned that the cuts would place an unfair burden on troops and military families, who would suffer the brunt of Washington’s "failure to budget responsibly."
“House Republicans took action today to ensure our troops, hardworking taxpayers, and key priorities such as cancer research and border security don’t pay the price for Washington’s failure to budget responsibly,” Ryan said. “We invite the President and his party’s leaders to join us in our efforts to address the near-term threat of the sequester and to meet the defining challenge of our generation: ensuring greater opportunities for generations to come.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the GOP plan “clearly defines the values and vision of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.”
The Budget Control Act, signed into law last summer, requires $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts equally divided between defense and domestic programs, over the next decade, with the first $109 billion due to take effect Jan. 2, 2013.
The vast majority of Democrats agree with most Republicans that Congress must avoid the devastating effects of the sequester, but assert that the GOP goes about it the wrong way, prioritizing defense spending and protecting tax cuts for the wealthy while undercutting the country’s social safety net and other programs intended to build the middle class.
Democrats contend that the Republicans’ recommended cuts would increase the number of children, senior citizens, and others without health insurance and eliminate the Social Services Block grant, which supports programs like Meals on Wheels for 1.7 million seniors and child protective services for at-risk children.
With the GOP’s cuts, Democrats warn that 326,000 women would not get the breast cancer screenings they are slated to receive in FY 2013 and 284,000 women would not get the cervical cancer screenings they are slated to receive in FY 2013.
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