Inhofe Wants to Shield DOD from Cuts with Changes to Social Security

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to ask the Senate to protect DOD spending by scaling back Social Security benefit increases. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will offer the proposal on the Senate floor as an amendment to the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill, CQ reported.

Inhofe will recommend replacing the military’s sequester cuts with a proposal that would slow future growth in Social Security benefits. President Obama is supportive of the Social Security adjustment, known as “chained CPI,” but only as part of a broader deficit reduction agreement.

Some Democrats hope the continued threat of defense cuts gives them a bargaining chip for a broader fiscal deal.

“Republicans have spent years saying that sequestration would have a devastating impact on defense programs, so I would certainly hope that they will be interested in coming back to the table and working with us to replace all of the automatic cuts in a fair and responsible way,” said Senate Budget Committee Chair and Appropriations Committee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), according to CQ.

But Inhofe’s approach is another sign of the GOP’s intraparty split between defense hawks and deficit hawks. The second group includes Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who said the focus should be not on providing the Pentagon more money but showing how it could run under the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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