The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a Republican plan to halt automatic budget cuts and protect military spending next year by cutting social safety net programs and rolling back some financial reforms.
The Sequester Replacement Act sets up a new budget battle with Democrats as Congress deals with across-the-board cuts due to hit in January.
Passed on a party-line vote of 218-199, the Republican plan would partially offset $97.6 billion in automatic cuts in fiscal 2013 and shrink deficits by $242.8 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The measure is expected to bog down in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed not to consider a replacement for the cuts until Republicans show willingness to consider mixing some new revenues with spending cuts.
President Barack Obama also has threatened to veto the House measure, saying the Republican cuts would cost jobs and hurt seniors, veterans and children.
Earlier Thursday, House conservatives let it be known that they were quite unhappy with the GOP bill, reports The Hill
Several conservative House members who opposed the debt limit deal said they’re likely to vote for the bill, but reluctantly.
“It’s a façade. I mean, come on,” freshman Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., told reporters Wednesday. “This is a smoke screen to protect people who voted to raise the debt ceiling. He said he’s leaning in favor of the bill because of its spending cuts.
“But I hate to have to clean up after we told people that that bill was going to be a failure. This is all this is. This is election-year grandstanding, so that certain members out there have cover for the mistake that they made in August.”
Some Republicans and top Pentagon officials have cautioned that the automatic spending cuts could harm the military. But those opposed to restoration of the cuts are having none of it. “It’s like a whole shell game around this town,” freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., told The Hill. “This potentially puts us down that road of not delivering what we promised.”
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