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While Debt Crisis Looms, Washington Still Focused on Undoing Sequestration
Posted By Romina Boccia On August 30, 2013 @ 3:12 pm In Front Page,Obamacare | Comments Disabled
Lawmakers are on track to bargain away the one spending cut they got.
The Washington Post reports  that President Obama and a group of Republican Senators stalled on a budget deal on Thursday that revolved in part around the question of how to best renege on sequestration. Republicans want to offset the spending cuts in discretionary spending with “narrow” reforms to entitlement programs, while the Obama Administration insists on more tax increases.
Instead of trying to find an agreement to reverse the minuscule reductions (2.5 percent of projected spending over the next decade)  to spending they already traded for a massive increase in the national debt, lawmakers should focus on fixing the real and worsening problem that has brought Washington to reach the debt limit  yet again.
When lawmakers return to Washington on September 9, they will have nine days to come to an agreement on the spending level for the discretionary budget that funds government agencies. Lawmakers can protect national defense from bleeding further because of sequestration without putting taxpayers on the hook for even more discretionary spending . As the accompanying chart shows, discretionary spending will grow 17 percent —even with sequestration in place.
There is plenty Washington can cut out of its budget. To name just a few examples:
A new Heritage report shows how Congress can save $42 billion by eliminating bad government programs .
The spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act  came in exchange for the additional deficit spending lawmakers allowed by lifting the debt ceiling in 2011 by $2.1 trillion. While that money was spent in less than a year and a half, the spending reductions were to be phased in over the course of 10 years in two phases—through caps on discretionary spending and sequestration—in the event that lawmakers failed to find offsetting spending cuts in the entitlements.
Lawmakers had plenty of time to ward off sequestration with mandatory reforms, but they chose not to. They did, however, manage to add $2.1 trillion to the national debt, which, at $16.7 trillion, hangs like a dark shadow over the economy. No doubt spending was the easy part. Now it’s time to accomplish the cuts.
It is irresponsible for lawmakers to spend valuable negotiating time on how they can spend more of taxpayers’ money on discretionary programs when they should be pushing for an agreement to resolve the spending and debt crisis brought about by entitlement programs. Defunding Obamacare  should be their first priority. Congress should cut spending and fix the real debt crisis—out-of-control entitlement spending—before or as part of any increase in the debt ceiling.
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/08/30/while-debt-crisis-looms-washington-still-focused-on-undoing-sequestration/
URLs in this post:
 reports: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-republican-senators-give-up-on-budget-talks/2013/08/29/5f6f3384-10f7-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html
 (2.5 percent of projected spending over the next decade): http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/01/sequestration-much-larger-spending-cuts-needed-to-balance-the-budget/
 reach the debt limit: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/05/19/washington-hits-the-16-7-trillion-debt-ceiling-with-300-billion-in-new-debt/
 without putting taxpayers on the hook for even more discretionary spending: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/11/150-billion-in-spending-cuts-to-offset-defense-sequestration
 grow 17 percent: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/08/federal-spending-by-the-numbers-2013
 $890,000 a year to keep 13,712 empty bank accounts open: http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2013/8/the-top-10-ways-washington-wastes-money
 $2.1 million: http://www.concordmonitor.com/news/work/business/5866515-95/us-government-spends-at-least-890000-on-fees-for-empty-bank-accounts
 $442 million: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/07/house-can-save-$2-3-billion-more-on-the-commerce-justice-and-science-bill
 $1.15 billion: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/07/congress-could-cut-five-usda-programs-and-save-28-billion-a-year
 Congress can save $42 billion by eliminating bad government programs: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/08/tight-budget-congress-can-save-42-billion-by-eliminating-bad-government-programs
 The spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act: http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/infographic/2012/10/federal-spending-by-the-numbers-2012/sizing-up-the-budget-control-act-and-sequestration
 Defunding Obamacare: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/08/26/morning-bell-should-we-delay-or-defund-obamacare/
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