Inhofe introduces bill to avoid sequester with Obamacare repeal

A bill introduced Wednesday by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) would find $2.6 trillion of savings in the federal budget over the next decade, averting the sequestration mechanism and building defense spending back to 4 percent of the gross domestic product.

After administration officials appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday morning to accuse congressional Republicans of doing nothing to avoid the looming budget cliff, Inhofe presented his aggressive plan on the floor of the Senate.

The Inhofe plan, the Sequester Prevention Act of 2012, incorporates a number of conservative plans to find the requisite savings, according to estimates from his office:

  • Repeals Obamacare and adopts the Ryan Budget approach to block granting Medicaid and handing program management over to individual states. Savings: $1.1 trillion.
  • Cuts non-defense discretionary spending, which has ballooned in recent years, down to 2006 levels. Savings: $952 billion.
  • Creates a block grant program for food stamps, superseding the current food stamp program. Savings: $285 billion.
  • Reduces the size of the federal workforce by ten percent through natural attrition. Savings: $144 billion.
  • Incorporates the tort reform legislation of H.R. 5, which passed the House in April. Savings: $74 billion.
  • Prohibits federal funding of climate change and global warming activities. Savings: $83 billion.

According to Inhofe’s office, the plan would leave a savings remainder of $61.2 billion after offsetting the costs of sequestration and bulking up defense. The package is one of the first major sequester replacement plans to originate in the Senate: efforts by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to replace the cuts and by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) to find savings for the first year by cutting back the federal workforce were well-received in the House, but hit a brick wall in the Senate.

Inhofe’s bill is similarly filled with trigger issues that would keep it from passing the Democratically controlled Senate and likely prompt a veto from the president if it did pass. But the statement his legislation makes is clear.

“Don’t let anybody tell ya that you can’t get there from here,” he said, during his floor speech,  “because you can get there from here.”