Today I voted against H.R. 6365, the so-called National Security and Job Protection Act, which violates previous spending agreements, mandating excessive budget cuts while protecting perks and loopholes for the wealthy.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 gave Congress until 2013 to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. It said that if Congress failed to come up with a plan, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts (also known as sequestration), evenly split between defense and non-defense spending, would automatically take effect.
H.R. 6365 is an attempt to protect defense spending by mandating that the President come up with a plan to avoid sequestration. But it complicates this already difficult task by mandating additional cuts while forbidding any increases in revenue.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats have put forward a balanced deficit reduction approach that would prevent sequestration, cutting weapons programs that the military itself has said it does not want and requiring wealthy Americans to contribute by paying Clinton-era tax rates. Rather than engaging in a give and take on these issues, House Republicans have tried to restrict the President to solving this problem only on their terms. My hope is that serious negotiations will begin soon.
H.R. 6365 passed the House by a vote of 223 to 196. It is unlikely to see action in the Senate.