Thursday, August 1, 2013

House GOP Budget Cuts are Obscene Starting with Defense Endangering our National Security

From National Security to funding programs for the poor, today's Republicans in Congress want to cut everything yet they call themselves Christians?  They don't care about a child who might be subject to lead paint -- it is not the responsibility of the Federal Government.  Guess they better go read the real version of the Preamble to the Constitution not the conservative one.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
National Security has always been a huge part of my adult life from the first day after the 4th of July when I went to work for the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB.  Made lifelong friends over the years and with our family being moved around the Country by Air Force Materiel Command know people in various parts of the Country.  We all used to be Reagan conservatives and now we won't vote for a Republican today if they paid us after what they are doing to this Country by putting the wishes of the wealthy donors first.

There is no better example of the hard headed, stubborn, sold out to Koch Bros wing of GOP then the Defense budget from the worst House of Representatives in my lifetime and maybe ever.  Bunch of do-nothing primma donnas who have the backbone of a jellyfish.  Look at this defense budget and ask yourself who are those people who are willing to risk our national security?  The answer is simple with the Libertarian Koch Bros taking over the Republican Party and sending it harder right.  Libertarians are not big on defense as we have seen from Rand Paul and Mike Lee in the Senate.

No wonder that hard right anti-national security group didn't want Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense as he knows where the bodies are buried and not afraid to go toe to toe with the spineless GOP which he has repudiated for several years.
Senior Pentagon leaders offered a sober assessment Thursday of the impact of automatic spending cuts on the military, arguing that they are embarrassing and unsafe for the United States while imploring a stymied Congress to stop them. 
Defense hawks on the House Armed Services Committee joined in the hand-wringing over the reductions although many of the lawmakers voted two years ago for the budget law that set the cuts in motion and have consistently resisted Pentagon cost-saving proposals such as closing domestic military bases and raising health care fees. 
The hearing with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, represented a Washington version of "Groundhog Day" – defense officials sounding the alarm, lawmakers bemoaning the effect and nearly all agreeing that no resolution was in sight. 
"I would love to see it fixed, but I don't see it fixed. I don't see the will to get it fixed," Armed Services Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., told reporters after the hearing. "I think it's a huge game of chicken with tremendous consequences." 
Across the Capitol, senators were even more blunt as they voted for a nearly $600 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2014 that ignores the limits of the spending cuts. 
"We screwed ourselves here," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "And somebody in this body on the Republican and Democratic sides need to find a way to work with our president to undo this. Not just for sequestration sake, but for the long-term interests of the country."
Senator Graham (R-SC) is 100% correct.  He and John McCain are some of the few GOP left who believe both sides should work together for all Americans and stop this obstruction that is hurting our Country and its people.

As for Buck McKeon (R-CA),  Chairman of Armed Services,  Northrup-Grumman must not be taking any cuts on this defense budget since it is well known that he is not the most honest Chairman that has headed Armed Services.  It has been well known in defense circles that he is one of Northrup's 'boys' in the House.  How else can you account for Lockheed-Martin having to accept Northrup-Grumman on the F-35 when they bring nothing to the table.  Go way back with NG when they tried to bribe my husband years ago when we were in SoCal at Norton AFB to steer a contract their way -- he immediately resigned from Source Selection and told the Chair why so it wouldn't taint the choice.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel presented the worst-case scenario for the U.S. military if the Pentagon is forced to slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 budget and half a trillion over 10 years as a result of congressionally mandated cuts. 
The reductions would come on top of $487 billion that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to in August 2011. 
Among the dire prospects, the Navy would drop from 11 carrier strike groups to eight or nine, the lowest number since World War II. The Army would be at levels not seen since 1940, with cuts of more than 100,000 additional soldiers. 
The service is already planning to go from a wartime high of about 570,000 to 490,000 soldiers by 2017. The current plan to reduce the size of the Marine Corps to 182,000 from a high of about 205,000 could also be changed, cutting it to as few as 150,000 Marines.
The Air Force could lose as many as five combat air squadrons as well as a number of other bomber and cargo aircraft. 
The old Republican Party would have stood up for the Defense Department and said enough is enough that DoD cannot sustain these types of cuts.  Today's Libertarian Republican Party which played so long to the hard right they are now in charge is all about making sure the wealthy donors get their demands met and screwing the rest of the Country.  Military, women, veterans, poor, senior citizens, minorities, etc. are all supposed to take the hit on funding while the wealthy get their breaks and keep their money rolling in they can put it off shore.

The perfect example of the convoluted GOP thinking in the House comes from the GOP Head of Appropriations, Hal Rogers (R-KY).  Would someone please tell me why a Congressman who knows full well a bill is bad for his district in Kentucky would still vote for that draconian bill?  Is it because he knows it is DOA.  How about getting some backbone and voting NO for a change and for the people of his district?  Tired of this lockstep voting by some GOP when they know the bills are bad.  Who are they taking the orders from today -- donors or constituents?  Looks to those of us on the outside it is the donors hands down.

The Koch Bros through their various arms plus the NRA and Chamber of Commerce who only speak for the wealthy and gun owners are hurting this Country on a daily basis by putting their agendas over the average American.  Rogers needs to grow a pair and stand up when it comes time to vote not just talk about how bad the budget bills are from the Republicans.  Tell leadership he is voting NO and see others who are not hard right join with him to start defeating the hard right agenda.  His constituents deserve a NO vote on the budget:
Even the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee thinks Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget goes too far. 
On Thursday night, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) — who represents the second poorest Congressional district in the country — told a local Kentucky station that he will vote for the House Republican budget. But, he said, he will do so reluctantly, since he believes the proposal “cuts too much,” especially given how much Republicans have slashed discretionary spending in the last two years:
“I’ll be voting for it. It’s not exactly to my liking. There are a lot of things that I’m not happy with, including the overall big number,” he said. “It cuts too much spending, frankly, from the discretionary side of the budget. Most people don’t realize that we only appropriate 1/3 of federal spending … and we’ve cut that by $100 billion over the last two years.
The Ryan budget certainly has a terrible effect for Rep. Rogers’ constituents living in poverty. It would make drastic changes to Medicaid, turning the program into a block grant system that wouldn’t keep up with growing healthcare costs or inflation. The plan similarly block grants food stamp spending, leading to cutbacks in the thousands for families that rely on nutrition assistance. Other safety net program would feel the brunt of the Ryan budget too, while corporations and the rich would enjoy huge tax breaks. 
And Rogers is right to break from the Republican narrative that ignores spending cuts that have already happened and are likely to hurt economic growth. Since the 2011 fight over the budget — and including the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling debate — the US has cut nearly $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade.
You want to know why Rogers said NO to the Ryan budget?  Read how they planned to cut programs and ask yourself how anyone could possibly vote for this group of Republicans who don't care about the poor and less fortunate.  Think Progress has put a list together of cuts that Hal Rogers and other Republicans couldn't stomach but yet are still voting for the entire bill.  Makes no sense when you read the cuts the the House GOP want:
1. Cut community development grants in half: The Community Development Block Grant program provides states and local communities with annual grants for a variety of purposes, such providing affordable housing, creating job programs, environmental clean up, and other community development needs. These grants were slated to be cut nearly in half, receiving less than $1.7 billion, which would have been a more than $1.4 billion cut. As Brian Beutler reported, such a cut “los[t] a lot of Republicans who care about their districts.” 
2. Eliminate a program that funds infrastructure: The House appropriations bill would have completely eliminated Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, which are used to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects. The program proved incredibly popular, receiving $9 billion in applications this year despite only having $474 million to dole out. It also comes at a time when the U.S. desperately needs to invest in infrastructure, as the country’s roads, bridges, and rail lines got a mere D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Communities would have lost over $200 million they were expecting to receive come the fall. 
3. Slash spending on removing lead from homes: The House bill would have reduced the Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard Control program, which removes lead from homes and prevents children from poisonous exposure, by more than half compared to the decreased level it gets under sequestration. It would have only allocated $50 million to the program, compared to $114 million under the sequester. Half a million children have elevated levels of lead in the blood, which is linked to lower IQs and learning disabilities. Meanwhile, every dollar spent on controlling the exposure to lead returns anywhere from $17 to $221 in health and other societal benefits. 
4. Underfund homelessness assistance programs: The bill would have funded Homeless Assistance Grants at $2 billion, below both President Obama’s request and the Senate’s version. This level wouldn’t be enough to fund all of the Continuum of Care grant renewals this year, which help fund shelters for the homeless, youths, and domestic violence survivors. This would mean 25,000 people would likely be left homeless. 
5. Decrease spending on the Federal Aviation Administration: Congress will still remember when sequestration-related furloughs hampered air travel, leading to outrage and a scramble to action from policymakers to ease the cuts. Yet the House appropriations bill would spend $775 million less than the Senate’s version the agency, less than even sequestration levels, which could make it harder for it to keep up with increasing demand for air travel.
In one fell swoop this bunch of Republican scrooges want to cut services, cut benefits to the poor and homeless, cut jobs, and add in the FAA with more cuts which was allowed to move money for airline safety.  Since they don't care about removing lead paint that could hurt children, why would they care about air travel being safe?

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