WASHINGTON - Moving to protect the military from a crippling wave of budget cuts next year, a key House committee voted Monday to instead cut food aid, health care, and social services such as Meals on Wheels.
The measure would require federal employees to contribute more to their pensions, saving taxpayers more than $80 billion over the coming decade, while illegal immigrants would be denied tax refunds from the $1,000 per-child tax credit. There is no companion legislation moving in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the proposal does not stand a chance of making it to President Obama’s desk for signature.
But the vote was a symbolic swipe at Obama in an election year focused on the economy.
The cuts approved by the Republican-controlled Budget Committee total more than $300 billion over the coming decade. The panel approved them on a party-line 21-9 vote; the full House is scheduled to vote on the measure on Thursday.
The proposed reductions are but a fraction of those called for in the broader, nonbinding budget plan that passed the House in March. They are aimed less at taming trillion dollar-plus deficits than preventing the Pentagon from absorbing a 10 percent, $55 billion automatic budget cut in January because last year’s deficit supercommittee couldn’t reach a deal. The Obama administration and lawmakers in both parties warn the defense cuts would reduce troop levels and harm readiness and weapons procurement.
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