In 2010, the House Republicans took us on a destructive path that would greatly harm our economy by almost defaulting on our nation’s debt for the first time in history.
To stave off this dangerous course, Congress passed the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA) in Aug. 2011 with the support of 174 Republicans. Both Speaker John Boehner and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan hailed it as a good deal. The BCA did two primary things: 1) It instituted an immediate $1.2 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years, and 2) It established a “supercommittee” to find additional ways to reduce to deficit by at least another $1.2 trillion.
The “supercommittee” failed because Republicans refused to compromise and stood in the way of a balanced approach to reduce the deficit that would include both revenues and spending cuts. So, as the Budget Control Act dictated, an automatic sequestration plan would result. Speaker Boehner said he felt “bound” by that sequestration because it was in the agreement to which he consented. That sequestration would go into effect this January if no action is taken by Congress. Thus far, House Republicans have been unwilling to step away from their Grover Norqust-inspired tax pledge to find a reasonable compromise – and to this day are insisting on protecting the wealthiest Americans from paying their fair share.
Unlike the House Republicans, Democrats have a responsible plan to replace the sequester. Here are the details of a plan that our ranking member on the Budget Committee, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, has previously laid out:
– Eliminate automatic spending reductions for both discretionary and mandatory programs scheduled for fiscal year 2013
– End the direct payment program for agricultural producers
– Increase tax liabilities of some taxpayers with an adjusted gross income greater than $1 million by creating a new minimum tax amount (Buffett rule)
– Eliminate oil and gas subsidies for big five producers
As Mr. Van Hollen noted, the Democratic plan reduces the deficit “without hitting working families,” while the Republican proposal “finds savings by shredding the safety net for hundreds of thousands of low-income children, women, seniors, and other Americans.”