GOP Must Avoid Cuts To Iron Dome and Social Safety Net

Iron Dome hits Hamas rockets fired on Israel

— by Aaron Keyak

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) demanded that Republicans join with President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats in working to avoid the impending sequestration.

For all of their talk about opposing the sequester, Republicans have not taken meaningful action to avoid these catastrophic budget cuts. Sequestration will affect far too many of the top priorities of the Jewish community. These indiscriminate cuts may range from social safety net programs that help the least fortunate among us to Israel’s foreign aid and funding for missile defense programs like Iron Dome.

Sadly, as the President works to protect our nation’s social safety net and stands by our national security interests, Republicans are once again appeasing the far right elements of their party at the expense of the American people and our allies.

More after the jump.
According to Politico, many Congressional Republicans are in favor of letting the sequester take effect — including House Speaker John Boehner:

There seem to be three distinct camps: Most congressional Republicans appear willing to let the sequester happen since they can’t replace it in time. Others want the cuts to be even deeper […].

House Speaker John Boehner and the House GOP leadership represent the largest GOP faction — those who wish there was a better way to slash the deficit, but barring that, are willing to let the across-the-board cuts take effect on Friday as planned […].

This pro-sequester group includes GOPers like Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Mike Turner (Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (Kan.), who have all said they prefer a different way to cut government spending. But if there’s not a solution on the table by March 1, they think the sequester should be implemented […].

Another group is made up of people like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been loudly proclaiming that the cuts are not nearly deep enough.

“It’s a pittance. I mean, it’s a slowdown in the rate of growth. There are no real cuts happening over 10 years,” Paul said on CNN this week of the sequester […].

“I think the sequester happens and it will be in some ways a yawn because the histrionics that are coming from the president saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to shut down and get rid of meat inspectors’ — I mean, is anybody not going to stand up and call his bluff on that ridiculousness?” Paul added.

Politico also noted that Republican Governors are calling on Congressional Republicans to act:

Ask Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert what they think of Hill Republicans’ strategy on the sequester, and you get the exact same response: “What strategy?” […]

Their message for House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders: It’s not OK to just sit on the sidelines. It’s time to do something to stop the automatic cuts, and fast.

JTA reported on sequestration’s devastating impact for the Jewish community:

[D]ozens of Jewish organizations [are] grappling with the potential loss of federal funds from the so-called sequester, a measure adopted by the U.S. Congress last year to force itself to confront a hemorrhaging national debt and return the country to sound fiscal footing. Unless a budget compromise could be found, draconian across-the-board cutbacks of 8.5 percent were to have automatically taken effect on Jan. 1. The impact of those cuts was designed to be so devastatingly painful that Congress would in effect force its own hand […].

As the new deadline nears, some Jewish organizations are preparing for the worst, identifying non-essential services to be axed while lobbying federal officials to protect vital programs.

According to Globes, sequestration would have dire consequences for Israel’s missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome:

The pending US budget sequester on March 1, 2013, is liable to reduce military aid to Israel by over $700 million in the 2013 fiscal year, pro-Israeli sources in Washington told “Globes”. The cut includes a $250 million reduction in current aid, which is due to total $3.15 billion, and the possible loss of all financial aid for joint US-Israeli missile defense programs, amounting to $479 million, for a total of $729 million in reduced aid. In the best case, if the aid for anti-missile programs is only reduced, rather than eliminated, Israel will lose $300 million in aid.

The same article also included Israel’s perspective:

Top officials in Israel’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Defense are drawing up a strategy for dealing with the problem. One source believes that Minister of Defense Ehud Barak’s sudden visit to Washington, just after his previous visit, was related to the sequester. Until recently, Jerusalem believed that the Congressional Republicans and the White House would reach a last-minute budget compromise, and that Israel would avoid the budget axe, but this assessment was disproved a few days ago, when the Republican House leaders decided to go on recess.


Leave a Reply