Chairman Smith Reintroduces Legislation to End Sequestration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has reintroduced legislation to end sequestration and its damage to our economy:
“Today, I am reintroducing the Relief from Sequestration Act of 2019 to repeal the automatic cuts in both discretionary and mandatory spending triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration. These cuts have impacted our economy, affected our government, and harmed our nation.
“At the same time, this bill does not deny the fact that we need a comprehensive, long-term deficit reduction deal. We do. We have a deficit problem that must be addressed and a broader revenue and spending plan is fundamental if we are to tackle the debt and deficit.
“Rather, the Relief from Sequestration Act recognizes that critical national priorities and the economy should no longer be held hostage by the threat of sequestration while Congress debates a comprehensive budget fix. The Budget Control Act’s automatic and indiscriminate cuts are not a long-term solution. They will only damage our economy and undermine national security in the process.
“Because Congress recognizes the harm that broad and indiscriminate cuts inflict on our economy, government programs, and the military, it has previously delayed the Budget Control Act’s $1.2 trillion in cuts from fully taking effect. As sequestration has proven, haphazard cuts are not effective in reducing the debt. Any sustainable fiscal plan should include a thoughtful budgeting approach that incorporates targeted reductions and increases in revenue.”
In 2011, the Budget Control Act introduced the mechanism of sequestration. Under sequestration, automatic and indiscriminate cuts were to be applied through fiscal year 2021. These cuts were designed to decimate discretionary spending with the goal of forcing Congress to enact a long-term deficit reduction plan. They were never meant to take effect. In fact, the author of the 1987 law that first employed sequestration as an enforcement mechanism admitted that sequestration was never supposed to be triggered.
Unfortunately, when Congress failed to find a solution to reduce our deficit, this devastating mechanism took effect for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Over the years, Congress has continuously delayed sequestration cuts by passing various bipartisan budget agreements, but the mere threat of sequestration has had unacceptable and serious economic implications disrupting regular order in Congress. The solution must be to permanently end this misguided and ineffective policy.
The Relief from Sequestration Act of 2019 would end the remaining years of harmful potential cuts to discretionary programs triggered by this mechanism by eliminating them for FY 2020 and FY 2021.