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“Trigger” Could Mean Up to $750 Billion in Defense Cuts?

The “triggers” in the latest debt ceiling deal have mostly been agreed upon, but ABC’s Jake Tapper reports on two items apparently still being hashed out:

And the debt ceiling will be raised by $2.4 trillion in two tranches: $900 billion immediately, and the debt ceiling will be raised by an additional $1.5 trillion next year – either through passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which is unlikely, or with Congress voting its disapproval.

Two items still being negotiated:

1)    The exact ratio of Pentagon to non-Pentagon cuts in the trigger – Democrats want 50 percent from the Pentagon, Republicans want less;

2)    Democrats want to exempt programs for the poor from the cuts.

So, in the event Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on the $1.5 trillion in reductions next year, that could mean up to $750 billion of the defense budget will be slashed automatically — which goes well beyond the reductions proposed by President Obama, and would seriously undermine our national security. Considering defense spending accounts for a much lower percentage of the deficit than entitlements, this is an outrageously disproportionate reduction. And if Democrats are also insisting programs like Medicaid need to be taken off the table, then that means other programs will have to shoulder more of the burden.


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