If Mitt Romney wins in November, he and a Republican Congress will fast track legislation early next year to replace across the board defense cuts with cuts to food stamps and other programs for needy Americans.
“In January our intention is that if we don’t fix it in the lame duck is to fix it retroactively once a new session of Congress takes place,” Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, told a crowd in North Carolina Thursday, “We have procedural way in the Senate to advance that legislation very quickly and get it to the next President of the United States who I believe is going to be Mitt Romney, to pass that into law and retroactively prevent that sequester from taking place in January.”
Ryan was referring to legislation House Republicans passed earlier this year to avert sequestration — the penalty Congress imposed on itself, on a bipartisan basis, for not reaching an agreement on more targeted legislation to reduce the deficit. Sequestration will cause deep, abrupt cuts to both defense and non-defense programs starting early next year, and for the next 10 years, unless Congress overturns it or replaces it with other savings.
A number of high-ranking Democrats and Republicans have concluded that the election will determine how Congress avoids both the sequester and the impact of the expiring Bush tax cuts. Ryan says if Romney wins they’ll advance the GOP’s plan and use the budget process to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.