WASHINGTON — Moving to protect the military from a crippling wave of budget cuts next year, a key House committee voted Monday to cut instead food aid, health care and social services such as Meals on Wheels.

The measure would require federal employees to contribute more to their pensions, saving taxpayers more than $80 billion over the coming decade, while illegal immigrants would be denied tax refunds from the $1,000 per-child tax credit.

There’s no companion legislation moving in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the proposal doesn’t stand a chance of making it to President Obama’s desk for signature. But the vote was a symbolic swipe at Obama in an election year focused on the economy.

The cuts approved by the Republican-controlled Budget Committee total more than $300 billion over the coming decade. The panel approved them on a party-line 21-9 vote; the full House is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday.

The proposed reductions in the bill are but a fraction of those called for in the broader, nonbinding budget plan that passed the House in March. They are aimed less at taming trillion dollar-plus deficits than preventing the Pentagon from absorbing a 10 percent, $55 billion automatic budget cut in January because last year’s deficit “supercommittee” couldn’t reach a deal.

The Obama administration and lawmakers warn the defense cuts would harm readiness and weapons procurement, and reduce troop levels.

One-fourth of the House GOP spending cuts come from programs directly benefiting the poor, such as Medicaid, food stamps, the Social Services Block Grant, and a child tax credit claimed by working immigrants.

Top Budget panel Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said the food aid cuts would mean 280,000 children would lose free school lunches and 1.8 million people would lose food stamp benefits while large agricultural businesses would continue to receive lucrative subsidies.