Thursday, December 5, 2013
By ANDREW TAYLOR The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
The measure would authorize money for the day-to-day operations of every Cabinet agency through Sept. 30, provide another $87 billion to fund overseas military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintain a pay freeze for federal workers. Automatic spending cuts of 5 percent to domestic programs and 8 percent to the Pentagon are left in place, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal workers facing job furloughs.
But the bill eases the effect of the trims on food inspections and college assistance for active-duty military and relieves the Pentagon from a cash crunch in accounts for training and readiness. Veteran health programs will get scheduled increases and there are big boosts to modernize the Pentagon's nuclear arsenal. It also ensures funding for a food program for pregnant women and their babies.
The long-term, nonbinding GOP budget plan authored by Ryan, the party's failed 2012 vice presidential nominee, makes lots of promises about "reforming" costly benefits programs like food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, but it's often scant on details about the cuts. And while pledging a tax reform plan that would lower the top income tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, it doesn't say how it would replace almost $6 trillion in lost revenue.