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.