his week, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to cut nearly $250 billion from the budget deficit over the next 10 years, and a large chunk of the cuts come from programs to aid the poor. The GOP plan — which has no chance of passing in the Democrat-controlled Senate, but will inevitably become an election issue — would cancel food stamps for two million struggling Americans, cut health insurance for children, and scale back programs for the elderly and disabled, like Meals on Wheels. Such draconian cuts fail a "basic moral test," says the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For its part, the GOP says its harsh budget is necessary to prevent automatic spending cuts for the Defense Department that were built into last year's debt-ceiling budget deal. Still, are the GOP's cuts too extreme?
The GOP is only doing what is necessary: The budget might seem draconian, but it's a testament to "fiscal sobriety," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. The GOP, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is the only party in Congress that is willing to prevent an American debt crisis. And even Obama's Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admits that the cuts to the Pentagon would be devastating. "Republicans have a plan to bend the spending trajectory and to prevent damage to our national security. What have the Dems got? No budget. No answer for Panetta."
"Republican austerity or sobriety?"
Republicans have become blinded by ideology: This "inhumane" budget is the "nadir" of Republican efforts to "demolish vital social programs," says The New York Times in an editorial. "At the same time, they have insisted on preserving bloated military spending and unjustifiably low tax rates for the rich." The GOP is "determined to protect millionaires and defense contractors, no matter the costs to the country."
"The human cost of ideology"
And it will hurt the GOP come fall: Republicans are "fighting to literally take food away from poor children to avoid cutting a massive Pentagon budget by even a penny," says Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog. And remember, the Senate is never going to pass the budget, meaning Republicans just shot themselves in the foot to display their ideological commitment. "The only folks happier than right-wing activists about today's vote?" Democrats, who will keep reminding voters about this for months.
"House GOP pits Pentagon v. poor"
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