DEADLINE: Estimated January 2014
The Budget Control Act of 2011 created the Congressional "Super Committee" process, which failed to find the required additional $1.5 trillion in budget savings over 10 years. As a result, the fallback option was triggered, achieving deficit reduction by imposing a sequester of 2013 discretionary spending and lowering caps through 2021 on future discretionary spending.
In 2013, half of the sequestration cuts came from defense. Most of the remaining cuts came from non-defense discretionary spending programs — including scientific and medical research, education, national parks, food inspections, law enforcement, federal employee pay, grants to state and local governments, and the Head Start pre-school program.
Nearly everyone agrees that sequestration has not been a good way of managing the budget. People on both sides of the aisle have identified flaws in the sequester process, including:
If policymakers enact a continuing resolution that freezes funding at the post-sequester levels, they would extend all of those sequestration flaws into 2014. If they ignore the limits, or don’t raise them, OMB will be required to issue a new sequestration order 15 days after Congress adjourns at the end of this year. Rather than continuing a policy that almost everyone agrees is bad budgeting — and which could harm our economic recovery — Congress should replace this short-sighted and damaging process with a comprehensive plan that addresses the fundamental drivers of long-term debt.