Going Back on the Budget Control Deal
In the Budget Control Act, congressional Republicans made a deal with the president and Senate Democrats. It was a complex deal, but it included creating a “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction,” also known as the “super committee.” The super committee was supposed to produce debt reduction legislation by Thanksgiving, 2011, which would cut at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
If Congress failed to pass a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts, then Congress could grant a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling but this would trigger across-the-board cuts in spending. (They’re calling it “sequestration.”) The cuts would be equally split between security and non-security programs.
“deficit reduction” is another way of saying “spending cuts“
The super committee didn’t come up with anything Congress could pass, and Congress didn’t pass any bill, so now there are cuts—er, sequestration—coming to the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and a few other things.
Well, that’s something the Republicans didn’t bargain for!–other than when they bargained for it—so now they’re moving to undo sequestration of defense programs.
In H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, they’re working to restore money for the military and homeland security. An amendment to H.R. 4310 that the Republicans added says:
“Any sequestration order issued by the President under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to carry out reductions to direct spending for the defense function (050) for fiscal year 2013 pursuant to section 251A of such Act shall have no force or effect.”
That means big spending on the military stays high!
It doesn’t automatically go into effect. Other measures that lower spending elsewhere have to go into effect. We’ll see what happens there.
Rep. Scott Rigell had some interesting things to say in a press release touting the anti-sequestration amendment.
“The current sequestration model represents an 8-12 percent cut in defense spending – a violent reduction that will devastate our military and the industries that support it. My amendment opens an avenue to stop those cuts for 2013,” said Rigell. “Ten cents of every defense dollar in the Pentagon’s budget is spent in Virginia, and 20 percent of all jobs in Virginia are dependent on military spending,” said Rigell.
Wow, Virginia, you’re welcome for hoovering up all those tax dollars. You might have to hoover up a little bit less if “sequestration” happens. But maybe America’s leaders are going back on the budget control deal.
The next budget control deal is coming soon. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) says that when the country next reaches its debt limit, he’s going to require spending cuts as part of the deal.