Spending cuts will begin to automatically take effect in two weeks, Harris writes, and allowing the sequester's automatic spending cuts to happen would be terrible policy.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
In two weeks, about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts will begin to kick in, a testament to the inability of policymakers to reach a grand fiscal bargain. Allowing these cuts to happen would be terrible policy.
Here’s the background: In August 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) as a last-minute solution to an impending debt ceiling crisis. BCA averted fiscal and financial disaster by allowing additional Treasury borrowing authority, but also put in place deficit-reduction measures that would cut the deficit by $2.1 trillion over 10 years.
These measures included caps on discretionary spending—cutting outlays by over $900 billion over the decade—and a requirement that Congress achieve an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. BCA stipulated that if Congress failed to cut the deficit by this amount (and it did), deficit reduction would be automatically achieved by “sequestration”—formulaic cuts in federal spending.
Page 1 of 4