Congressional Republicans are standing their ground, a position they say is strategic. The federal government’s growing debt cannot be controlled through the spending at the annual discretion of Congress, and after the cuts take effect, that part of the federal budget will drop to levels not seen in five decades as measured against the size of the economy. Long term, the problem is entitlements, especially Medicare and Social Security.They aren't satisfied with the chained CPI Social Security benefit cut President Barack Obama has said he would be willing to accept in exchange for closing loopholes and deductions. They look at the fact that the budget deficit has dropped by roughly half since President Obama's first year and scoff. They hear that projected Medicare spending has already dropped by more than Simpson-Bowles originally sought and think to themselves that this is a good idea:
The pain of further cuts to discretionary programs could bring Mr. Obama to the negotiating table on them by the spring, if not by midsummer, when Congress must once again raise the government’s borrowing limit.
“Because the Democratic-controlled Senate and the president refuse to negotiate, the only way to potentially bring them to the table to negotiate is to go forward with the spending reductions as they are,” [Georgia Republican Rep. Tom] Price said.
Nearly two million people who have been out of work for more than six months could see unemployment payments drop by 11 percent in checks that arrive in late March or the first days of April, according to the White House budget office, an average of $132 a month. [...]There's no question that President Obama and congressional Democrats shoulder some of the responsibility for getting us to this point. But for the most part, the thing they've done wrong is failing to fight against insane Republican ideas—and to assume that today's GOP is capable of operating in good faith. But what Republicans are doing here is going after one group of vulnerable Americans to screw over another group of vulnerable Americans, and this pattern of destructive crisis after destructive crisis isn't going to stop until they stop.
The National Institutes of Health, for instance, would need to cut about 5 percent of its annual budget in just seven months, meaning hundreds fewer research grants, said Kathleen Sebelius, the health secretary. Money for food safety inspection and air traffic controllers would also be cut.
Roughly 600,000 low-income women and children would stop receiving food aid.