February 28, 2013
The automatic across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, will go into effect tomorrow. The $85 billion in cuts that fall heavily upon defense while exempting many entitlement and social programs are the result of deal making instead of legislating, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who says the federal government needs to prioritize what it does as spending cuts go into effect and as more are decided on in the future.
“We have to cut the worst first,” said Enzi. “President Obama should take a page from Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s playbook and prioritize what the federal government does. Require all government departments, agencies, and programs to list what they do best and what they do worst. That way we can maintain what we do well and cut what we don’t. We need leadership from the president on these cuts. He is supposed be the manager of our country, and Congress the lawmakers and appropriators. Right now it still looks like he’s on the campaign trail instead of being the chief executive he was elected to be.”
Sequester result of deal making
“Sequestration is the result of a few people behind closed doors making decisions for the more than 500 members of Congress. We need to get away from deal making and start legislating.” Sen. Enzi believes that by using the committee process and regular order every member can give input and have their voices heard.
Alternatives to the sequester
Senator Enzi supported a bill introduced by his Republican colleagues that would maintain the $85 billion in spending cuts but provides President Obama the flexibility needed to make more targeted cuts. The bill was defeated 38-62. Sixty votes were needed for passage.
“Sequestration was President Obama’s idea and he signed it into law. We’ve run out of money and are living on what we borrow from other countries. If we don’t get serious about cutting soon, the programs that people enjoy and rely on won’t be there in the future.”
The Senate majority also introduced their plan to avoid the sequester. The plan is a combination of tax increases and “targeted” spending cuts that would actually increase the deficit by more than $7 billion. The bill was defeated 51-49. Sixty votes were needed for passage.
“You can’t call your plan ‘deficit reducing’ if it actually increases the deficit,” said Enzi. “The calls for more revenues always seem to be the default solution from some of my colleagues. We already increased taxes by more than $600 billion in the fiscal cliff deal. Our problem isn’t revenue, it’s spending and those who refuse to cut a single penny from anything the federal government does.”