Fox Promotes GOP Effort To Stop Defense Cuts By Slashing "Programs For Struggling Americans"

Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

On today's edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson hosted Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to promote the Republican bill which would reduce spending to prevent the automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget enacted as part of the debt ceiling agreement. Carlson introduced the segment by claiming Republicans were "try[ing] to stop $78 billion in automatic cuts from the Department of Defense" but that "Democrats appear to be using the threat of cuts as a bargaining chip."

But Carlson is giving only one side of the debate. While promoting GOP efforts to stop the sequestration cuts, and attacking Democrats for attempting to stop the bill, Carlson failed to mention that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) tried to introduce his own bill to avoid sequestration, one that would similarly avoid cuts to the defense budget but was blocked by House Republicans. House Democratic leaders pointed out that, unlike their proposals, the GOP bill would pay for the cuts by slashing "programs for struggling Americans."

From a May 7 New York Times article:

The Republican-led House this week will lay bare the choice between social programs and Pentagon spending in an age of austerity when it takes up legislation to slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans over the next decade to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year.

[...]

The new legislation starkly lays out the costs of that pledge. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would push 1.8 million people off food stamps and could cost 280,000 children their school lunch subsidies and 300,000 children their health insurance coverage through the federal and state Children's Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the social services block grant to state and local governments would hit child abuse prevention programs, Meals on Wheels and child care.

A quarter of the cuts in the bill would come from programs for the poor. Cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized insurance premiums under the health care law make up more than a third of the package's savings, or $108 billion over 10 years.

Van Hollen's alternative, by comparison, pays for the cuts with a balanced approach that includes both revenue increases and spending cuts, including by "impos[ing] a 'Buffett Rule' so millionaires pay higher taxes" and cutting other programs such as oil and gas and farm subsidies. From a May 9 article in The Hill:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said his alternative will have spending cuts as well as tax increases and will turn off the entire $109 billion sequester, including cuts to Medicare. Like the GOP, Democrats dissolve the cuts for the military.

[...]

Van Hollen said the Democrats will cut direct payments to farmers, reform the National Flood Insurance Program, impose a "Buffett Rule" so millionaires pay higher taxes, and cut oil-and-gas subsidies.

A preliminary summary says $24 billion is saved by slashing farm subsidies, $5 billion is saved from NFIP reform, $46 billion is raised from the Buffet Rule and $38 billion comes from closing tax loopholes just for the five biggest oil-and-gas companies.

Carlson's misleading and one-sided promotion of the GOP's sequestration-avoidance bill follows closely in the footsteps of Fox News' incessant promotion of right-wing talking points and legislators during the 2011 debt ceiling debate.

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