The Congressional Budget Office says the federal deficit is on track to shrink to $642-billion by the end of the year, that’s $200-billion lower than an estimate from earlier this year.
Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith says a large part of that can be credited to the forced federal budget cuts.
“I would say one of those driving forces is sequestration,” Smith says. “I think that shows us that we can make some progress with the reduction in funding, in spending, but we want to be very careful about it. We want to be strategic.”
Sequestration is an across-the-board cut, to virtually all defense and non-defense programs. Smith says even if the forced cuts play out for their entire span of ten years, the federal budget is still out of control and must be reined in.
“We have mandatory spending, entitlements basically, that need to be addressed,” Smith says. “To do nothing about Medicare and Medicaid really is an endorsement of those programs’ demise because we know they are not sustainable in the long term.”
Smith says at this point, he doesn’t think Congress has many budget options.
Smith says, “Until we have the votes to pursue more meaningful reforms in spending, I think we have no other choice than to have sequestration remain.”
The forced cuts under sequestration began on March 1st and were initially designed to cut some $85-billion during the fiscal year, with similar cuts extending through 2023. Total spending reductions and interest over the decade could exceed $1.2 trillion.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton