The sequester is the next fiscal deadline facing Washington. With the across-the-board cuts set to take effect March 1, the White House and Congress are looking for ways to avoid it. As with everything else, politics is getting in the way.
President Obama this week called on Congress to delay the sequester by agreeing on a short-term plan with equal parts spending cuts and additional revenue. He singled-out eliminating some of the tax credits, deductions and other breaks known as tax expenditures as a means to raise additional revenue and mentioned that entitlement spending must also be looked at, which Fix the Debt commended in a statement. On Friday, the White House ratcheted up the pressure by releasing a fact sheet detailing how the spending cuts would affect Americans.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said “I don’t like the sequester” and called it a “meat ax” but doesn’t want any new revenue to replace it.
It is time for lawmakers to work together. Americans from all walks of life are coming together to find common ground, as exemplified by our Common Ground Summit on Wednesday. Former Congressman and Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle remarked at the summit that Congress could learn something from the gathering.
There are lots of other fiscal speed bumps waiting after the sequester, as our infographic illustrates. The only way to avoid more gridlock and brinksmanship is for both sides to agree on a long-term, comprehensive plan.