Negotiations continue in Washington over a new budget deal.
Once again, a deadline approaches with mixed reviews on whether negotiators are making any progress.
Congressman Adrian Smith says he hopes negotiators can reach a deal to cut the federal budget without the harsh, automatic cuts known as sequestration.
But, Smith says the budget must be cut.
“And I realize that sequestration is something that we should seek to plan ahead better than what the sequestration can allow,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network. “But, we also know that sequestration can help us get to the point where we can achieve entitlement reform and not have the need for sequestration.”
Federal spending has slowed a bit during the new fiscal year, which began in October. The Treasury Department reports the United States government’s deficit in October total $91.59 billion, down from $120 billion during the same timeframe a year ago. The drop is largely a reflection of the mandatory budget cuts forced by the Budget Control Act.
A temporary budget measure expires mid-January.
The federal debt has risen above $17 billion.
A Congressional budget negotiating committee, comprised of 29 House and Senate members, has been attempting to reach a budget deal that would replace the sequestration.
Smith says he hopes negotiators can reach a deal to replace sequester cuts with more targeted cuts.
“I hope that we can get to that point. It won’t happen quickly. It won’t happen easily,” Smith says. “But, certainly, there are better ways to address the budget than just through sequestration.”
Smith acknowledges yet another budget deadline looms as talks in Washington continue.
Smith holds out hope that negotiators can reach an agreement to cut the budget.
“Again, these are not easy decisions. We need to make sure that we address spending in a prudent manner,” Smith says. “I don’t think we can cut our way into a balanced budget. I don’t think we can tax our way into a balanced budget.”
Smith does suggest that tax reform could raise revenue by stimulating the economy.