House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted yesterday the House will pass a budget blueprint that would shield the Pentagon from so-called sequestration spending cuts over the next decade.
The House Budget Committee narrowly passed a fiscal year 2013 budget resolution Wednesday night for the entire federal budget that calls for altering plans for $1.2 million in sequestration cuts, $500 million of which would come from planned defense spending.
The House resolution, dubbed The Path to Prosperity by committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would direct six congressional committees to find $261 billion in savings over the next 10 years to lessen the sequestration impact to the military. Those cuts are due to start in January because the Budget Control Act of 2011 says if a special committee of lawmakers failed, as it did, to find $1.2 trillion government-wide cuts, the politically unpopular sequestration cuts would start in January 2013.
“This budget reprioritizes sequester savings to focus on the problem, which is government spending, and to protect national security from deep and indiscriminate cuts,” Ryan’s 99-page plan says.
The House resolution will serve as a framework for the House Armed Services Committee and House Appropriations Defense subcommittee when they craft their two Pentagon budget bills this year. Democrats controlling the Senate, though, do not plan to pass a corresponding budget resolution in their chamber this year.
Boehner told reporters yesterday he hopes the House Budget Committee’s resolution will pass the full chamber. A vote is expected next week.
“I’m confident…that we’ll have the votes,” he said. His comments came a day after the House panel concluded its markup of the massive resolution and passed it by a close 19-18 vote. The budget blueprint aims to end the federal deficit by 2040 through significant tax and entitlement reforms. House Democrats have vehemently opposed the non-binding measure.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), a staunch opponent of the sequestration cuts, hailed the version of the House resolution Ryan released Tuesday before the markup.
“Chairman Ryan’s approach is consistent with my call to avert sequestration and rebuild our military,” McKeon said. “I look forward to working with him to achieve a responsible federal budget that funds an effective military capable of meeting the threats America faces.”
The House Budget Committee’s plan calls for setting the fiscal year 2013 defense budget at $554 billion–more than what is dictated by the Budget Control Act.