fiscal 2013 budget debate
What's happened so far on the sequester is the equivalent of spring training in baseball and pre-season in football: It doesn't count and isn't necessarily indicative of what's ahead.
But everything changes today as the sequester that so far has only been hypothetical and something primarily discussed inside the beltway starts to become real for increasing numbers of voters outside Washington.
This is not an insignificant number of people. Polls taken over the past week or so show that only about 25 percent of Americans say they have been following the sequester argument (It's really hard to call it a "debate"). That number will increase rapidly as the sequester spending cuts reduce federal services that people rely on and like and voter emotions change from amusement to annoyance to outrage.
As I expected and warned everyone when legislation was enacted requiring it in early August, the report released by the Office of Management and Budget last Friday with the details of the spending cuts that will occur if the sequester actually happens on January 2 was a nonevent that provided little, if any, actual new information or guidance. It was barely a one-day story that may provide all sides in the debate, that is, those who want the across-the-board spending cuts to occur and those who think they're a tool of the devil, with some fodder for arguing their position but no real additional ammunition to make their case.
If what I'm saying isn't plain enough...The OMB report that some thought could be a game-changer, actually changed nothing.
My "Fiscal Fitness" column from today's Roll Call says what we all need to be saying: Stop the sequester.
Sequester Madness Is Bad Policy, Bad Politics
I want to say this as directly as possible: The sequester - the Jan. 2 across-the-board spending cut that was triggered when the anything-but-super committee failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan last November - needs to be canceled.
In case there's any doubt about what I mean, note that I said "canceled" rather than postponed, delayed, kicked down the road, modified, revised or anything else short of completely stopping the sequester from happening. And I mean both the military and domestic spending cuts, not just one or the other.
Does anyone really think the September 6 deadline included in the Sequester Transparency Act was selected by accident?
September 6 was the date Congress decided that OMB should complete a report that provided the details on the across-the-board spending cuts that were triggered when the anything-but-super committee last November failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan. It also just happened to be the first day after the Democratic National Convention and the start of what many Democrats wanted to be a three-day weekend news cycle about the success of the convention and the Obama campaign.
So it's hardly a surprise that senior congressional Republicans expressed outrage this past week when OMB missed the deadline.
For the record, the White House said that the delay was because it was taking longer than expected to do the calculations required in the report.