As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Tom Roeder reports:
Congressman Doug Lamborn is pushing a plan that would cut federal programs including Social Security, Medicare and crop insurance subsides by $30 billion a year so defense spending can be increased.
The Colorado Springs Republican said Tuesday that the cuts, including a $20 billion annual reduction in cost of living increases to Social Security, may entice fiscal conservatives to back a bigger Pentagon budget – an extra $108 billion over two years.
"My hope is that it is received very well, especially by folks on the budget committee, especially (Republican budget chairman) Paul Ryan," Lamborn said.
As the representative for Colorado's (and indeed one of the nation's) most military-heavy congressional districts, Rep. Doug Lamborn is always on the lookout for new ways to increase defense spending–even when doing so is incongruous with his alleged conservative principles, and even when it is politically a just plain terrible idea. In this case, Lamborn wants to reduce future spending on Social Security and Medicare, and directly appropriate the "savings" to the defense budget. The Gazette's Roeder reports that Lamborn is hoping for "a degree of political cover" due the fact that President Barack Obama has at times offered a similar "chained CPI" scheme to Republicans in failed budget negotiations.
What Lamborn doesn't seem to understand is that there's a huge difference between "grand bargain" negotiations, where line items dear to both sides are put on the table, and his simple, transactional proposal to cut Social Security and Medicare to increase defense spending. Congressional Democrats staunchly opposed Obama's willingness to consider the "chained CPI," and polling consistently shows the public does not want Social Security and Medicare to be cut this way–or for that matter any way. In the end, it didn't happen–at least not yet.
Now comes Lamborn, who wants a "chained CPI" at Christmastime–and not for any budgetary grand bargain, but to spend more on the military? What a delightful story to tell Grandma! We don't think Democrats could cast "conservative values" in a harsher relief if they tried. Lamborn's ultra-safe seat means he can't be personally held accountable, but as a GOP holiday brand ambassador, maybe Democrats should be okay with that.