Even by the standards of House Republicans, this was a rather extraordinary vote.
The House voted Thursday to override steep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget mandated by last summer’s debt deal and replace them with spending reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs.
While doomed in the Senate and opposed by the White House, the legislation, which would reduce the deficit by $243 billion, is a Republican marker for post-election budget talks with the White House.
Zero Democrats voted for the bill, and the proposal went too far for 16 House Republicans, who broke ranks and voted with Dems.
House Republicans proposed major cuts to the Defense budget as part of the debt-ceiling fiasco from last summer. They didn’t want the cuts, but they proposed the military reductions as a way to create an incentive for themselves to reach a bipartisan debt-reduction deal. But then GOP policymakers ran into a different problem: they didn’t want a bipartisan debt-reduction deal and they didn’t want their own proposed punishment.
Which leads us to this new proposal. To offset the Pentagon cuts Republicans proposed by no longer support, the House GOP voted to find all of the savings by taking from programs that benefit struggling workers and families. Today’s measure is nothing short of brutal, slashing food stamps, nearly eliminating job-training programs, eliminating health care subsidies, slashing the child tax credit, and taking school meals from 200,000 low-income children.
And all of this would come on top of the spending cuts Democrats already agreed to as part of the same debt-ceiling deal.