Heated Floor Debate on Cutting Federal Spending

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By Annie Russo

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the bill would yield $243 billion in deficit reductions over the next ten years and would replace of the $72 billion in cuts that would take effect in January due to the sequester mandated by the debt ceiling deal.

The debate on the House floor was heated at times on both sides of the aisle raising the age old debate of military versus non-military spending, as H.R. 5652 would prevent the deep cuts to defense that the sequester would bring.  House Republicans defended the proposal citing that they were taking a common sense approach by replacing the sequester’s across the board cuts.  H.R. 5652 passed by a mainly party-line vote of 218-199.

The bill will likely not see time on the Senate floor as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he is only interested in taking a “balanced approach” to replacing the sequester, meaning that he supports increasing revenues as well as making budget cuts.  The Administration also went on the record in opposition to H.R. 5652 saying “the bill’s unbalanced provisions fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility.”