The Boehner plan also called for raising $600 billion by reducing spending on federal health programs — $200 billion more than Obama’s proposal — in part by increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Boehner also embraced new formulas to reduce spending and readjust tax brackets to generate budget savings.
Obama has acknowledged that with only a week until the sequester hits, Congress may not have enough time to negotiate another sweeping deal. He has backed a Democratic plan to delay the sequester through the remainder of the year, by closing a limited set of tax breaks and corporate loopholes and through alternative spending cuts — largely to farm subsidies.
You’ve heard the word “sequester” mentioned by politicians a lot lately. The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe explains what the term means, and why it matters.
Congress is poised to close the door on the possibility of a federal employee pay raise while allowing furloughs to proceed.
Businesses and the state of Wyoming are raising money to plow snow from Yellowstone National Park roads.
The Washington Post is providing a forum for readers to share their experiences with the government-wide spending cuts.
Republicans have grown increasingly willing to allow the sequester happen. Last year House Republicans passed a plan to cancel the defense component of the sequester and instead cut more deeply into domestic programs. Boehner has said any plan should balance the budget in 10 years, a proposal that would require Congress to find savings far in excess of the sequester.
Obama officials say that if his deficit reduction plan were implemented, it would lower the deficit as a percentage of the economy to below 3 percent by 2015 – from 7 percent last year. That would be enough to stabilize federal borrowing for a decade – though it would start to rise fast again in the next decade.
With time running out, the White House is showing a sense of confidence that it will win the battle, while Republicans are saying they have the upper hand.
Obama aides note a Pew Research Center poll released this week, which says that 76 percent of Americans want Congress to replace the sequester with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Only 19 percent say tax increases should be off the table.
Republicans, however, say they are confident Obama will be blamed for the sequester — and argue that it should happen without an alternative agreement to cut spending.
“Most Americans are just hearing about this Washington creation for the first time: the sequester. What they might not realize from Mr. Obama’s statements is that it is a product of the president’s own failed leadership,” Boehner wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week.
“The president’s sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting spending. The government simply cannot keep delaying the inevitable and spending money it doesn’t have.”