Politics

Cantor: Defense spending cuts on the table

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Chris Moody
Contributor

Despite a traditional reluctance among Republicans to reduce the military budget and a Congress-wide aversion to touching entitlement spending, Majority-leader designate Eric Cantor said Tuesday that he is willing to lead the party toward slashing funding from both.

Appearing on NBC’s “The Today Show,” Cantor told Matt Lauer that spending cuts in defense and entitlements are “on the table.”

“Are you willing to perhaps raise the Social Security retirement age?,” Lauer asked Cantor Tuesday morning. “Are you willing to make cuts in Medicare? Are you willing to make cuts in defense spending? Are any of those issues on the table?”

“I think, you know, we’ve got to have everything on the table right now,” Cantor said. “That’s also what we heard from the people on November 2. … Everything should be on the table. I don’t think we should leave any stone unturned while we’re trying to do what most have in this country have done, which is tighten the belt, which is to try and live within our means.”

That’s a tall order. Only a handful of Republicans have said on the record that they would be open to consider cutting defense spending, which is the largest discretionary portion of the federal budget.

The GOP’s “Pledge to America” unveiled in September outlined a number of budget-cutting measures, but left defense untouched. While more than 50 members co-signed a letter in October that urged the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to consider cutting the defense budget, only two Republican House members, Ron Paul of Texas and Walter Jones of North Carolina, put their names on the list.

As for entitlement spending, which includes Medicare and Social Security, there is more support among the party for cuts and changes to the programs.

A draft of the White House debt commission report released earlier this month recommended raising the retirement age for Social Security and called for a cap on income that can be taxed to pay for the program. The bi-partisan commission plans to vote on final acceptance of the report’s recommendations later this week.

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  • J L Fuller

    I have to think that department heads know more about what they can cut than Congressional aids and lobbyists do. Give them a target budget and tell them to prioritize. They can and should extend the useful life of some older ships, keep the production lines open for the less expensive F-16 and F/A 18 for a few more budget cycles and put off upgrading some of the other military systems. They can continue closing surplus bases and bring most of our troops home from Europe. We can deactivate heavy armor divisions and give them to the National Guard and Reserves. Do we still need all those recently built up ground forces now that we are out of Iraq?

    Among social security recipients, should they still get the same check as the single income seniors even if they have substantial additional income? I don’t think so. Most seniors I know can afford a small increase in their SS premium to counter the doctor deficit. If Medicaid recipients can afford cigarettes and beer they can afford a copay for doctor visits and prescriptions. This is doable. Just not with the same old thinking that keeps us in this mess.

  • J L Fuller

    I have to think that department heads know more about what they can cut than Congressional aids and lobbyists do. Give them a target budget and tell them to prioritize. They can and should extend the useful life of some older ships, keep the production lines open for the less expensive F-16 and F/A 18 for a few more budget cycles and put off upgrading some of the other military systems. They can continue closing surplus bases and bring most of our troops home from Europe. We can deactivate heavy armor divisions and give them to the National Guard and Reserves. Do we still need all those recently built up ground forces now that we are out of Iraq?

    Among social security recipients, should they still get the same check as the single income seniors even if they have substantial additional income? I don’t think so. Most seniors I know can afford a small increase in their SS premium to counter the doctor deficit. If Medicaid recipients can afford cigarettes and beer they can afford a copay for doctor visits and prescriptions. This is doable. Just not not with the same old thinking that keeps us in this mess.

  • lifeandliberty

    Everything must be on the table. We must reduce spending drastically to balance the budget in 3 to 5 years. We also must then institute the ultimate Big Government regulation and that is a Balanced Budget Tax Limitation Amendment to the Constitution. We all must be willing to give up our goodies in order for the country to continue.

  • Joe Steel

    “I think, you know, we’ve got to have everything on the table right now,” Cantor said. “That’s also what we heard from the people on November 2. … Everything should be on the table. I don’t think we should leave any stone unturned while we’re trying to do what most have in this country have done, which is tighten the belt, which is to try and live within our means.”

    Apparently Cantor doesn’t hear very well because that’s not what the voters said and it’s not what they want. They want higher taxes on the rich and no benefit cuts for the middle class.

  • gooners

    So….still no plan, eh Eric?

    • Joe Steel

      Sure Cantor has a plan. It’s the same as always, enrich the rich and impoverish the poor, tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor.

  • flips

    Glad to see Pentagon’s $2,000 toilet seats are finally on the table for discussion.

    If we want really want to cut the deficit, we must go where the fat is.

    Military spending is the fattest goose in this land.

    Want to talk about waste and abuse.

  • Pingback: Cantor: We Have to 'Live Within Our Means' | Red Dog Report

  • Callie369

    As for medicaid? That is medical care for 20 million illegal aliens. How about stopping that? There is a better way to help the truly deserving CITIZENS who need help.

  • Callie369

    There should be changes made to social security! For example: My nephew was born with Downs Syndrome. He is 49 years old and has been getting social security his entire life. His mother also gets social security for taking care of him. He works a job and can go to the restaurant every Friday for a pizza and beer by himself. My brother, his dad, left and has spent the last 49 years living the Life of Riley, not paying a dime for support of his son. You think that’s right?

    Another example: What about the idiots who say its no ones business if they wear a motorcycle helmit and end up getting killed? Who supports his kids until they are grown? As well as Momma? Social Security!!!!

    There are MANY instances of this crap. PUT AN END TO IT!

    • r37890

      Both of these are a pretty easy fix in the short term…Social Security benefits should be paid only to those over the retirement age.

      In the long term, Social Security (and all other federal pension plans) should be converted over to a 401(k)-like plan, where each individual owns their plan. They can then make their own investment decisions and leave any remainder to their heirs. The few that run out of money can be taken care of by charitable organizations or family.

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