The automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of sequestration officially went into effect Friday. Last minute talks between President Obama and congressional leaders failed to avert the sequester.
The effects are not immediate but will start to be felt as some government employees begin being furloughed next month and programs get cut.
Washington gets an “Incomplete” grade on our Sequestration Report Card for allowing it to take effect. While the cuts will reduce the deficit, they do not tackle the drivers of our debt, meaning that they will do little to improve the long-term fiscal picture.
In a statement, Fix the Debt lamented sequestration kicking in and urged policymakers to redouble their efforts to replace it with a smarter comprehensive plan.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt urges both Parties to reengage in meaningful talks aimed at replacing the sequester with a comprehensive plan to control our long-term debt, one that confronts the debt’s true drivers – our long‐run entitlement costs and our inefficient tax code. Our elected leaders must look beyond the short‐term political perils of the ‘optics’ of sitting down to negotiate, and actually sit down and negotiate.
More action-forcing events are on the way. The stopgap measure funding the federal government expires on March 27 and must be replaced to avoid a government shutdown. That could be used as a vehicle to replace or alter the sequester. However, both sides are treading lightly since neither wants to risk a government shutdown.
Some believe that serious efforts to replace the sequester will wait until the summer when another battle over the statutory debt ceiling awaits. See our infographic for the full list of fiscal speed bumps down the road.
It is clear that Washington won’t act unless Americans send a message loud and clear that we are sick and tired of the gridlock, manufactured crises, and half-baked solutions. That’s why we’re here. If you haven’t already, sign out Citizen’s Petition to Fix the Debt.