The Hill: Defense spending fuels the debt crisis

Since the start of the 112th Congress, the U.S. House Republican majority –with its dozens of new Tea Party members – has been telling the American people our country is “broke.” During the budget debate, Tea Party Republicans argued the unprecedented fiscal crisis demands huge spending cuts to vital programs and investments that make our communities strong. Then, starting with H.R. 1, House Tea Party Republicans voted overwhelmingly for massive cuts to food safety, public safety, education, life-saving health research, roads and bridges, clean energy alternatives, and nutrition for hungry children and nursing mothers.

Cut $650 million from emergency nutrition assistance for hungry infants and mothers? Tea Party Republicans said yes. Cut $35 million from food safety and food inspectors that keep families healthy and safe? Tea Party Republicans said yes. Cut $1.3 billion from community health centers for the poor? Tea Party Republicans said yes.

But when the $649 billion Pentagon funding bill for Fiscal Year 2012 reached the House floor, Tea Party Republicans’ dire fiscal warnings and collective eagerness to cut government spending disappeared. Instead, they turned on the spending spigot to full blast.

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