America is now living with a sequester–across-the-board budget cuts negotiated between President Barack Obama and the Congress more than a year ago that are part of an effort to reduce spending without raising taxes.
The option does exist to create legislation that could change the impact of the sequester cuts, but the reality is that it most likely will not happen although there is talk about trying to do some damage control during voting on a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government operating through September. The resolution must be passed by March 27. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill on Thursday, while the Senate should take up legislation next week.
Republicans may try to include in the continuing resolution legislation a requirement that the sequester cuts made in defense spending be replaced.
No such talk has been heard about replacing the money taken from domestic programs.
According to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), who spoke about the issue on a CNN news show, Republicans are determined to cut spending.
“The question is are we going to keep the commitment we made to the American people a year and a half ago–a bipartisan agreement signed by the president–that we would reduce spending without raising taxes by this amount of money in this fiscal year?
“We think it’s important to the American people to keep this commitment. And we’re going to do it. We’re willing to talk to him (President Obama) about reconfiguring the same amount of spending reduction over the next six months.
McConnell described the 2.4 percent in cuts required in the $3.6 trillion national budget as “modest.”
Half of the cuts mandated must be made by September, and the other half must be made in the first half of the next fiscal year.
According to one Democratic source, what makes the process especially difficult for the federal agencies is that they are in the middle of the fiscal year, have smaller budgets and have already spent some money.
Many federal agencies have yet to finally determine exactly how they will make the cuts, although they do know how much must be made.