ment is “in the rearview mirr
and even said “a brief postponement of the scheduled cuts would set a precedent, making it virtually impossible to reinstate them later.”
By staying united around the need to replace sequestration and making it one of the focuses of the budget conference, Democrats were able to show that there is bipartisan support for replacing sequestration and that moderate Republicans are willing to buck party leadership to reduce the impacts of the automatic cuts. The Wall Street Journal even called efforts by Republican appropriators and defense advocates
to replace sequestration an “uprising.”
If sequestration is rolled back for this fiscal year and the next, there will be intense pressure from advocates and from communities across the country to address it in the remaining years, making it even more likely that Republicans who have already supported replacing sequestration will do so again.
This deal prevents Band-Aid approaches to dealing with sequestration that would fail to solve the underlying problem of unworkable funding levels.
Without the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, the alternative almost certainly would be a continuing resolution locking in funding at sequestration levels for the rest of the year. And if the cuts from sequestration are not replaced now, they will be even harder to replace and inadequate fixes for sequestration, like
“flexibility” and “smoothing
will be difficult to avoid.
Democrats secured a fair replacement and continued the precedent that sequestration cannot be replaced with spending cuts alone.
Since sequestration went into effect, Democrats have emphasized the need to fairly replace sequestration with a combination of responsible spending cuts and new revenue. Democrats have also highlighted the need to preserve the 50-50 split between defense and non-defense sequestration (the firewall) and not allow the defense cuts to be fixed without equal solutions on the non-defense side. This budget deal accomplishes both. The deal maintains the principle that sequestration should not be replaced with spending cuts alone and that defense cuts should be replaced with revenue and/or other defense savings. Of the $63 billion in sequestration replaced, $35 billion comes from revenue and $6 billion from other defense savings. Many Republicans fought to eliminate the firewall and pushed ideas that would have only disguised major problems on the defense side and done absolutely nothing to help on the non-defense side.
But Democrats on the budget conference held strong to make sure the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 rolls back sequestration for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending and maintains the critical firewalls that protect non-defense investments now and in the future.
Democrats successfully fought off Republican efforts to slash Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid benefits.
Going into the budget conference, Republicans said that their highest priority was cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid benefits. Many Republicans stated that if sequestration was to be replaced at all, it would have to be entirely with
cuts to these programs that seniors and our most vulnerable citizens depend on. Reuters reported that “if Democrats are
unwilling to offer cuts to benefits programs that make up some two-thirds of federal spending, Republicans are vowing to
keep the sequester cuts in place.”
While Democrats fought to replace more of sequestration in the agreement, Republicans made clear that any additional replacement would require deep cuts to programs Democrats know are critical for struggling seniors and families across the country. There are policy changes in the deal that Democrats would not have done on our own, but we fought against the unfair Republican proposals that would have slashed or made extreme structural changes to programs families and seniors depend on
and the bipartisan deal does not cut Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid benefits by a penny.