A chief task of the budget conference committee that will start deliberating next week will be to replace at least a portion of the automatic cuts of sequestration. The matter will become more pressing as the next round of cuts is scheduled to begin in January. With that in mind, it’s good to review what the sequester is all about.
What to do with sequestration is one of the primary sticking points as the Senate and House of Representatives seek to reconcile their vastly different budgets. The Senate budget assumes that sequestration is repealed while the House budget maintains the sequester spending level, but makes adjustments to relieve some of the defense cuts. Failure to agree on how to handle the $91 billion difference regarding sequestration could scuttle a budget deal.
While there is widespread disaffection with sequestration, there is little agreement among the two parties on how to replace it. Democrats would prefer to include new revenue to replace some of the cuts while Republicans want to maintain the level of spending, but replace some of the defense cuts with reductions elsewhere, perhaps from mandatory programs like Medicare and Social Security.
We have presented basic information and other resources regarding sequestration previously. Now a new resource provides the key numbers you should know behind the sequester. For example, the 2014 sequester will cut about $30 billion more than the 2013 sequence of spending reductions.
The sequester should be replaced by a more sensible approach that achieves no less in savings (preferably more), but does so over a longer period of time, minimizing the near-term impact as the economy struggles to recover, and also addresses the true drivers of the long-term debt through entitlement and tax reform. In order to improve upon sequestration, we must know the facts about it.