01.28.2013 0

The House needs to maintain $85 billion sequester

By Bill Wilson — Sequester was originally supposed to be for $109 billion, but since then these cuts to budget authority have already been reduced to $85 billion during the fiscal cliff negotiations. They must not be reduced any further.  The House can attempt to find offsetting cuts for defense, but before they do so, they ought to take a close at Sen. Tom Coburn’s “Back in Black” proposal, which included $963 billion of easy, feasible cuts over ten years from the defense budget.

In a study that swept across all departments and agencies, Coburn found in defense for example $10 billion for elementary schools or the potential to consolidate its worldwide grocery store chain that would save $9.1 billion. These are non-defense items snuck into the defense budget. He found $184 billion in potential health care savings alone. There is plenty that could be cut without undermining security.

So, if sequestration falls on vital security programs, it will only be because the Obama Administration failed to prioritize the cuts to be made, despite having almost two years to prepare.

In any event, the American people were promised these cuts in return for the last $2.1 trillion increase of the debt ceiling. To secure the votes for the most recent suspension of the debt ceiling until May 19, House leaders had to promise to maintain the sequester cuts. Now there is no excuse for not keeping the commitment.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow him on Twitter at @BillWilsonALG.

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