Sequester threat to domestic programs drowned out by defense cries
SEQUESTER THREAT TO DOMESTIC PROGRAMS DROWNED OUT BY DEFENSE CRIES – For all the hysteria in Washington over sequestration, you’d be forgiven for believing it only affects defense. The well-financed, sophisticated lobbying arm of the military industry has mobilized to warn against the looming budget ax. And congressional Republicans have aggressively drawn attention to the need to stave off the more than $500 billion in cuts to the Pentagon that begin next year. But nobody seems to be talking about the other $500 billion in reductions — to Head Start, child care and AIDS programs, as well as many other domestic programs that face across-the-board cuts. The limited lobbying and political attention on the domestic end of the sequester reveals the brutal reality of how Washington works when it comes to budgets: Industries with the biggest companies and the most powerful lobbyists still drive the conversation, POLITICO’s Seung Min Kim reports: http://politi.co/NiNR5q
… That’s leaving Democratic lawmakers and their allies nervous that their priorities could get shafted. “My great fear is that medical research education programs and investments in the future of our country will be sacrificed in order to preserve nuclear weapons programs, amongst other things that are not needed,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said yesterday.
… Markey obtained one of the early detailed answers from the Obama administration about how the budget pain would hit domestic programs in a letter from HHS last week. Among those cuts: the elimination of 2,300 NIH research grants, nearly 100,000 children losing Head Start services and no more child care assistance for 80,000 kids. Not to mention 12,150 fewer patients with access to AIDS Drug Assistance Program benefits and 169,000 people who would not get access to substance abuse treatment programs. And in general a 7.8 percent cut to most HHS accounts. The letter: http://politico.pro/OxJKO2. And Pro’s story: http://politico.pro/NgY1iv