Republican Rep. Introduces Bill To Blow Through Defense Spending Caps

Republican Rep. Scott Rigell introduced a bill Wednesday to undo 75 percent of the defense spending cuts mandated by sequestration in 2011.

Rigell’s plan would raise $765 billion in the next decade to restore the defense budget, which was cut across-the-board by the 2011 Budget Control Act known as sequestration. Rigell has condemned the decrease in military spending, and aims to pay for increased defense spending by reforming and cutting in other areas, such as Medicaid and Social Security.

“Our national security, our men and women in uniform, and our local economy remain at tremendous risk because of sequestration,” Rigell said in a statement. “Mandatory spending is the primary driver of our debt, and ignoring this fact is reckless.”

His bill would measure inflation using the chained consumer price index instead of the standard CPI, which would reduce Social Security benefits by an estimated $380 billion in the next decade. Medicaid reforms, including a cap on premiums and increased use of generic drugs, would bring in an estimated $455 billion.

Another $100 billion would come from limiting deductions for taxpayers in the 39.6 percent bracket, and an additional $15 billion would come from changes to the federal student loan program. The bill would also reduce the Federal Reserve’s 6 percent dividend payment on stock to just 1.5 percent for banks with more than $1 billion in assets.

The combined savings would be expected to offset the increased spending on defense.

“This is what leadership looks like,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said in a statement. “This bill achieves the original intent of the sequester, which was not to enact deep cuts to defense- and non-defense discretionary spending but to encourage the enactment of smart savings that reduce tax and spending subsidies while slowing the unsustainable growth of our entitlement programs and strengthening Medicare and Social Security.”

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