In three days from now, $85 billion in cuts to federal spending – known as the sequester – will go into effect. Democrats and Republicans voted on the sequester in July of 2011, and they have done very little until the past few weeks to change the composition or timing of the cuts, if they take effect. Now, after taking a week off from legislating, Obama and leaders of Congress are back to dueling on how all this will play out. As they are currently planned, cuts are across the board and don’t allow adjustments for priorities.
Carney doesn’t rule out, though, the President supporting a GOP flexibility bill. #Sequester.
— Stew (@StewSays) February 25, 2013
Some “flexibility” legislation is exactly what this process needs. The best approach for the portion of the money that flows to the states would be to block grant the spending. I wrote after President Obama was re-elected:
Under increasing federal budget pressures, funding to the states will likely be sharply decreased for many programs. Chris Whatley, director of the Washington, D.C. office for The Council of State Governments, laid out the implications of the current form of sequestration:
28 of the 42 streams of federal funding to the states would face cuts. The programs facing cuts are found across a range of departments and services, from special education and low-income heating assistance to veterans’ employment and training.