Tags: Cantor | Defense | Cuts | Deal

Cantor Seeks Year-End Deal to Curb Defense Cuts

By    |   Thursday, 01 Dec 2011 05:21 PM

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is working on a plan to reduce the automatic spending cuts set to affect the Defense Department in 2013, Politico reports. To gain the support of Democrats his plan also includes an extension of the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment compensation that are scheduled to end Dec. 31.

Eric Cantor, virginia, republicanBut the Virginia Republican has an uphill climb. President Barack Obama, other Democrats, and many Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, want to leave the automatic spending cuts in place, at least for now.

The automatic spending reductions were triggered when the congressional supercommittee was unable to agree on a plan to reduce the budget deficit by at least $1.25 trillion over the next 10 years. The automatic cuts amount to $1.2 trillion, including a $450 million reduction for the Pentagon.

Cantor is seeking to woo both Democrats and Republicans to his idea. He has contacted Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Jim Webb, D-Va.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

The majority leader “continues to talk to House and Senate members from both sides of the aisle in an effort find common ground on these important issues,” his spokesman, Brad Dayspring, told Politico.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the news service that Republicans aren’t averse to reapportioning the automatic spending cuts but won’t accept a reduction in the overall level of reductions.

Most Democrats favor the cuts as they exist now. That’s because they don’t apply to Social Security, Medicaid, child nutrition programs, federal Pell Grants, and Medicare benefits.

Even some conservative Republicans oppose shrinking the Pentagon cuts — Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rand Paul of Kentucky for example.

“Every military base I go to, and everybody that works in the military that I’ve talked to, says, ‘We can save 10 [percent] to 15 percent anywhere,’” Coburn told Politico.

But many other Republicans are concerned about defense cuts, and several brought up the issue in a House Republican Conference meeting Wednesday.

Republican leadership aides told Politico the party will have more leverage to reduce Pentagon spending cuts next year, because Obama will feel a “tremendous amount of pressure” to give in to Republicans on the issue, as he seeks votes in states with a large defense presence, including Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.

But Cantor’s ready to move this year. “Let’s try to work incrementally [toward] a conclusion this session that could benefit all Americans,” he said.

“We Republicans do care about people that are out of work. We don’t want to raise taxes on anybody. We want to provide the help to the physicians and the providers in the health care industry of this country. And we want to make sure this country has a sound national defense policy.”


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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is working on a plan to reduce the automatic spending cuts set to affect the Defense Department in 2013, Politico reports. To gain the support of Democrats his plan also includes an extension of the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment...
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2011-21-01
Thursday, 01 Dec 2011 05:21 PM
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