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house Bill H.R. 2110

Should Sequestration Be Eliminated for FY2020 and FY2021?

Argument in favor

The cuts imposed by the sequestration budget have harmed the U.S. economy, government, and country overall. Ending sequestration for the next two fiscal years will help facilitate increased federal spending on defense and non-defense priorities alike.

jimK's Opinion
···
06/15/2019
My heart says NO. However, the inability of Congress to negotiate in a bipartisan way unfortunately makes me say YES. While the Congress draws lines and takes a “my way or the highway” approach, we cannot have a rational budget that best represents all of the people. I blame most of this on Gingrich and his party-unity before all else doctrine. I blame McConnell who brags about killing legislation before it can even be debated. Without debate there can be no deliberation. When a party marches in lock step on policy, there is no forum left where reasonable compromise can be reached. There is no way to come to a budget which best supports the people and not highly funded special interest groups. So YES end sequestration until Congress can ‘right’ itself.
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Mark's Opinion
···
06/15/2019
Increase the taxes on the billionaire and millionaire class. The wealthiest in this country have gained 21 trillion dollars since the 80s, the bottom 50% have lost 90 billion dollars. It is time to shift our tax code to reflect these values.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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06/15/2019
👍🏻👍🏻 H.R. 2110 AKA the ‘’Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019 👍🏻👍🏻 I support and recommend the passage of the House bill H.R. 2110 AKA the ‘’Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019 ‘’ which would eliminate sequestration for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Sequestration refers to budget caps which, if they aren’t waived by Congress, would cause spending cuts of $125 billion per year from current appropriations levels. Sequestration isn’t necessarily all bad, as it forces cuts to low-value programs across the federal budget. Rather than throwing sequestration out altogether, it’d be more valuable to proactively plan ahead in budgeting to ensure sequestration isn’t triggered. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻HR-2110👍🏻👍🏻. 6.15.19.....
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Argument opposed

Sequestration isn’t necessarily all bad, as it forces cuts to low-value programs across the federal budget. Rather than throwing sequestration out altogether, it’d be more valuable to proactively plan ahead in budgeting to ensure sequestration isn’t triggered.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
06/15/2019
This is long, but bear with me to the end. Anything that cuts our bloated military budget is okay. It need serious cuts anyway. Like in half. 2% of GDP/10% federal budget max unless we are in a congressionally declared war against another country. A good chunk of the deficit problem is DOD’s blank check spending. The United States spent about $600 billion on “national defense” in 2017, according to the government’s definition. That includes spending on the base Pentagon budget, spending on Overseas Contingency Operations or current wars, and spending on defense-related activities in other agencies, including nuclear weapons activities in the Department of Energy. National defense spending, or the military budget, is more than 30 percent higher in real terms than in 2000. U.S. military spending is more than double what Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea collectively spend on their militaries. And that amount excludes $255 billion in security-related and foreign affairs spending in the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Veterans Affairs. The real reason that U.S. military spending is so high is not the threats it meets but the ambitions it serves. The primacy strategy of global military dominance fails to guide choices among military responses to danger. Because primacy sees threats and prescribes forces almost everywhere, it offers little basis for budgetary limits or prioritization. In that sense, it is less a strategy than a justification for expansive military ambitions. At a minimum, it endorses the present size of the U.S. military, with units permanently deployed in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, various training missions, and global naval patrols. A strategy of restraint, by contrast, would husband U.S. power and focus planning on actual threats. By keeping U.S. forces out of avoidable troubles, restraint would reduce the number of wars the Pentagon must plan to fight, allowing big reductions in military spending. A less busy military could be a smaller and cheaper one. Cuts guided by restraint would save far more than those offered by the most popular method of reducing spending, which is to target “waste, fraud, and abuse.” The latter approach objects less to U.S. military ambitions than to the Pentagon’s inefficiency in pursuing them. It recommends savings via managerial reforms — acquisition reforms, improved financial management, and empowering civilian technocrats to eliminate programs that seem redundant. The problem with that approach is that the spending it targets is a chimera. Everyone opposes “waste.” But attempts to find it reveal that nearly every military program does something and creates a political constituency who swear that the nation’s security requires its full funding. The Pentagon surely spends too much buying weapons, but the trouble is rarely sneaky contractors or rules that fail to control them, so much as satisfying those who rule over acquisitions: military leaders load in requirements to serve their service’s goals, and members of congressional defense committees defend the contracts that employ their constituents. Achieving real Pentagon savings requires having fewer goals and taking on the special interests dependent on the associated spending. A second alternative approach to cuts is the “Nike” way, in which you “just do it,” lowering the total and letting the Pentagon sort out the details. That is essentially the approach that the White House and congressional leadership inadvertently selected by agreeing to spending caps while asking the Pentagon to do everything it had been doing. One virtue of legislated future caps is that they lock in future Congresses. The difficulty of overcoming the status quo protects the cuts. This method also has the advantage of being the most doable; it is easier to agree on cutting spending than on a strategic rationale for doing so. In theory, budgetary restraint can drive efficiency and strategic restraint. Heightened resource constraints encourage service leaders to squeeze overhead costs more than instructions to find fat. Spending constraints also require more prioritization among goals, which is the essence of strategic planning. Particularly when interservice competition occurs, budgetary pressure can cause the services to debate priorities and offer alternatives to policymakers looking to limit objectives and save money. The Navy, for example, in promoting offshore methods of meeting threats, might highlight the risks of deploying U.S. ground forces to confront them and note the advantages of carrier-based airpower over land-based fighters. The strategic and Nike methods of cutting the budget could be fruitfully combined. Restraint, in the sense of having fewer allies and wars, is possible without budget cuts; but in the absence of fiscal pressure to adjust, restraint would likely be little more than a slogan used by those doing the same old things. By articulating a strategy of restraint, imposing lower caps, and encouraging interservice competition, leaders could get the best of both approaches. Proposed Cuts Restraint-oriented reforms would arrive gradually as the United States exited alliances, ended wars, closed facilities, and retired forces. They would be achieved by reducing commitments and military units. Divesting force structure would allow further savings in personnel, operations and maintenance, intelligence, and real estate costs. The cuts listed below would ultimately cut about 25 percent from current military spending projections. Proposed Military Spending Cuts Ground Forces Reduce active-duty Army end-strength to 360,000 or fewer soldiers. Reduce active-duty Marine Corps end-strength to 145,000 or fewer. Cap the Army Reserves at 165,000 soldiers. Reduce the Army National Guard to 290,000 soldiers. Reduce the Special Operations Command to 40,000. Reduce operations and personnel costs to match cuts in ground combat units. Navy and Air Force Reduce the number of carriers and associated air groups to eight. Retire at least three amphibious assault ships. Cease production of the littoral combat ship. End the F-35 program and buy less advanced fighter aircraft instead. Accelerate the shrinkage of the attack submarine force. Reduce the Air Force tactical aircraft fleet by at least a third. Reduce operations and personnel costs to match reduced force size. Nuclear Weapons Limit bombers and fighter aircraft to conventional (nonnuclear) missions. Retire intercontinental ballistic missiles. Cancel the new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Cancel upgrades to the B-61 gravity bomb. Administration Consolidate geographic combatant commands and overseas bases. Reduce three- and four-star commands. Reduce associated contracting and civilian personnel. Reform maintenance and supply systems. Cut spending on intelligence and missile defense. Adopt more cost-controlling reforms for military compensation. Pursue further base realignments and closures at home and abroad. Cut most Overseas Contingency Operations funding; leave only what is actually necessary to conduct the air campaign against the Islamic State. Restraint would take advantage of America’s geographic position and give the Navy a larger share of the Pentagon’s reduced budget. The Navy would shrink, but less than other services. Ships and submarines have access to most of the earth’s surface without the need for basing rights. With gains in range and massive increases in missile and bomb accuracy, carrier-based aircraft can deliver firepower to most targets, even in those states with considerable ability to defend their coastlines. The Navy would operate as a surge force that deploys to attack shorelines or open sea lanes, rather than pointlessly patrolling peaceful areas. Divested of presence-driven requirements, the Navy could reduce the number of carriers and associated air groups it operates to eight, retire at least three amphibious assault ships, cease production of the littoral combat ship, replace the floundering F-35 program with F/A-18s, and accelerate the shrinkage of the attack submarine force. These cuts would allow additional reductions in operations and personnel costs to match the reduced fleet size. Restraint recommends cuts to ground forces for two reasons. One is the dearth of conventional wars in which the United States might play a leading role. In the event of a conventional war on the Korean peninsula, in the Persian Gulf region, or even in Eastern Europe, wealthy U.S. allies should man the front lines. No modern Wehrmacht is poised to overcome them. The other reason is that counterterrorism is poorly served by manpower-intensive occupational wars, which rarely produce stability, let alone democracy. U.S. policymakers should cut the active-duty Army to 360,000 or fewer soldiers, as opposed to the current plan of 450,000, and reduce the Marine Corps’ end-strength size to 145,000 rather than 182,000. Because restraint requires less frequent deployments and reduces the emphasis on deployment speed, cuts to Reserve and National Guard forces would be proportionally smaller — the Reserves would be capped at 165,000 rather than 195,000 and the National Guard would shrink to 290,000 rather than 342,000. Reduced demand for military-to-military training and fewer wars would allow Special Operations Command to cut its current size of 63,000 down to 40,000. Restraint also recommends cutting the Air Force’s air wings across active and reserve forces. Few enemies today challenge U.S. air superiority, which is why so many missions go to drones and nonstealthy aircraft with limited ability to fend off rival aircraft or surface-to-air missiles. Recent advances in aircrafts’ ability to communicate, monitor targets, and precisely strike them with laser guidance and Global Positioning Systems have made each aircraft and sortie vastly more capable of destroying targets. Naval aviation, which also benefits from these gains, can bear most of the airpower load. The Air Force’s tactical aircraft fleet, including those in the National Guard, should be reduced by at least a third, allowing similar reductions in support units. Additional reductions to the Air Force budget could come from reducing its nuclear weapons spending. A credible nuclear deterrent does not require 1,900 nuclear weapons deployed on a triad of delivery vehicles — bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The new nuclear-armed cruise missile should be cut, and upgrades to the B-61 gravity bomb should be canceled. Shifting to a submarine-based monad could yield far larger savings. Even if extended deterrence — protecting allies from aggression — requires the ability to preempt enemy nuclear forces, which is doubtful, a submarine-launched ballistic missile force could achieve that goal. Thanks to accuracy gains, conventional cruise missiles could help by destroying hardened silos and threatening enemy arsenals. It is often said that the triad is necessary to ensure that U.S. nuclear forces survive preemptive attacks and thus to deter those attacks. But no enemy can reliably track U.S. ballistic missile submarines, let alone do so with the sort of reliability required to attempt a preemptive strike against all of them. Changes in that circumstance would be detectable in time to restore another leg, and air-launched cruise missiles could be stored as a hedge. The cuts to force structure listed above would allow additional reductions to the Pentagon’s administrative costs. Additional savings could come from consolidating combatant commands, reducing three- and four-star commands, reducing associated contracting and civilian personnel, and reforming maintenance and supply systems. Spending on intelligence and missile defense could also be reduced substantially. Independent of strategy, compensation costs — including basic pay, medical costs, housing allowances, and other benefits — need controlling. The cost of enlisted service members has virtually doubled since 2000, with compensation far exceeding comparable private-sector earnings. Service leaders and a bipartisan coterie of defense experts annually beg Congress to adopt cost-controlling reforms. Congress should accept more aggressive cost-saving proposals in these areas. Congress should also cut down on the Pentagon’s real estate spending, starting with another Base Realignment and Closure round. The Pentagon estimates that base capacity exceeds its needs by 20 percent and that the five rounds between 1988 and 2005 produced $12 billion in recurring annual savings. Additional cuts could target the Pentagon’s spending on overseas base infrastructure as the United States reduces commitments abroad. A rough estimate is that those cuts would reduce nonwar military spending by about 20 percent. Because the United States would fight fewer wars under a policy of restraint, it could also get rid of most OCO funding, leaving only the funds actually necessary to prosecute the air campaign against the Islamic State of about $20 billion a year. These reforms would yield a new military budget of $455 billion, which is about 25 percent lower than the present one. If the U.S. unauthorized wars and strikes continue in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, we should abandon this absurd pretense that they are somehow an unforeseen emergency. OCO should be folded into the base Pentagon budget, as occurred in some past wars. War spending should be included under an adjusted defense spending cap, still enforced by sequestration, which should be extended to 2025 at least. Keeping war spending uncapped encourages Congress, with the executive branch’s contrivance, to stash base defense money in OCO, a habit that reduces the need for overdue reforms in the Pentagon. The current arrangement also arguably gives Pentagon leaders incentive to support wars: it lets them reap OCO’s largesse. Moreover, leaving OCO spending uncapped makes its costs seem less than they are. Because distance, low costs, and safety already make U.S. wars seem nearly costless to most citizens, the wars commence with too little thought and debate. By requiring war to be paid for now, caps would make clear the tradeoffs between war and other priorities. That would spark some congressional debate as to the worth of those conflicts and slightly combat the tendency to wage war frivolously. Proponents of current military spending argue that a restrained military budget is a radical notion that will expose Americans to danger. But what is truly radical is the idea that U.S. security -requires- securing other rich nations in perpetuity, maintaining military interventions in several poor ones simultaneously, patrolling the seas endlessly, and spending the better part of a trillion dollars a year to those ends. Given the safety the United States can enjoy if it avoids looking for conflicts to manage, the proposals here are actually cautious. They would not only save a fortune but also might even keep U.S. forces out of avoidable trouble. References 1 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Mid-Session Review (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017). 2 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Historical Tables (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017), Table 8.2. 3 The Military Balance 2017: The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defense Economics (London: International Institute of Strategic Studies, 2017). 4 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Historical Tables (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017), Table 8.1. 5 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Mid-Session Review (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017). 6 Grant A. Driessen and Marc Labonte, “The Budget Control Act of 2011 as Amended: Budgetary Effects,” Congressional Research Service, December 29, 2015. 7 Jim Tice, “Army shrinks to smallest level since before World War II,” Army Times, May 7, 2016. 8 Congressional Budget Office, “Long-Term Implications of the 2016 Future Years Defense Program,” January 2016, p. 2. 9 See, for example, Kelley Sayler, “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” Center for a New American Security, February 22, 2016. 10 See Benjamin H. Friedman, Christopher Preble, and Matt Fay. “The End of Overkill: Reassessing Nuclear Weapons Policy,” Cato Institute, September 24, 2013. 11 Lawrence J. Korb, Alex Rothman, and Max Hoffman, “Reforming Military Compensation: Addressing Runaway Personnel Costs is a National Imperative,” Center for American Progress, May 2012. See also Phillip Carter and Katherine Kidder, “Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization: A Primer,” Center for a New American Security, January 2015. 12 Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, “Pentagon to Congress: We Need Base Closures,” Defense News, April 15, 2016. See also Jim Garamone, “Pentagon Official Says DOD Needs More BRAC,” Department of Defense News, November 22, 2013.
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DrCindyBean's Opinion
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06/15/2019
I really cannot support ending sequestration ...however I fear it may be necessary in our current situation with GOP jamming everything up. Gingrich. McConnell. GOP. Bad news for USA citizens. We need to vote in a new sane administration, a new sane Senate, and keep the momentum in the House of Representatives where things have made a shift towards actually representing ‘We the people’ somewhat more since the 2018 midterms.
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06/15/2019
The most likely way to achieve significant reductions in spending is by across-the-board cuts. Each reduction of 1% in the $3.6 trillion federal budget would yield roughly $36 billion the first year and would reduce the budget baseline in future years. Even with modest reductions, this is real money. Let’s give up the politically pointless effort to pick and choose among programs, accept the political reality of current allocations, and reduce everything proportionately. No one program would be very much disadvantaged. In many cases, a 1% or 3% reduction would scarcely be noticed. Are we really to believe that a government that spent $2.7 trillion five years ago couldn’t survive a 3% cut that would bring spending to “only” $3.5 trillion today? Every household, company and nonprofit organization across America can do this, as can state and local governments. So could Washington.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Budget
    IntroducedApril 4th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2110?

This bill — the Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019 — would eliminate sequestration for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Sequestration refers to budget caps which, if they aren’t waived by Congress, would cause spending cuts of $125 billion per year from current appropriations levels.

Impact

Federal budget; Congress; and sequestration.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2110

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to end sequestration and its damage to the U.S. economy:

“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.”

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has expressed his support for ending sequestration for a number of years. Most recently, in 2017, Rep. Thornberry argued that sequestration needs to be ended in order to increase defense spending to protect U.S. readiness. Rep. Thornberry’s belief that sequestration harms defense is long-held. In 2012, he wrote in Politico that:

“Spending reductions will also have economic consequences. We should not spend money on defense in order to create jobs. But we should also be aware of the effects on jobs of such significant cuts. Studies have found that sequestration would result in 1 million to 2 million job losses, cutting our nation’s gross domestic product by about 1 percent. Those economic consequences are already kicking in. Companies doing business with the Defense Department must plan ahead for cuts. In fact, the law requires many employees to send out notices of potential layoffs — and those notices will hit the mailboxes just before the November election. The House acted earlier this year to prevent sequestration by substituting other spending reductions for the defense cuts. But time is short. Even if Congress acts to stop sequestration late this year, before it takes effect in January 2013, it may be too late for many jobholders. The damage to our economy and to our defense industrial base will have been done. We have widespread agreement in this country that our mounting debt threatens our future. We do have to examine every dollar of federal spending to ensure that it is spent effectively and efficiently — including the defense budget. But defense budgets are already going down (as opposed to entitlements, the biggest category of federal spending ). And no manager can make rational decisions with the arbitrary reductions of sequestration. Even during a political campaign — we have to find a way to put the country’s security first.”

In a 2017 blog post, The Concord Coalition argued that sequestration is a bad way to make budget cuts:

“To reduce budget deficits, policymakers must make politically painful policy changes by raising taxes on constituents and/or reducing spending on services provided to them. Because different tax increases or spending cuts of the same magnitude do not always have the same impact, policymakers should aim to make informed decisions that target these policy changes rationally. Making policy this way, however, requires difficult trade-offs and decisions about who will bear the burden. Many politicians seek to avoid the responsibility (and negative political ramifications) of these trade-offs. A common method of doing so is sequestration. Under sequestration, instead of making specific spending cuts to individual programs, policymakers pass the buck to executive branch agencies by requiring them to reduce spending across the board by a certain percentage. These indiscriminate cuts impact wasteful and effective public programs alike. This inhibits the ability of lawmakers and agency leaders to plan wisely and for the long-term. When sequestration has been implemented, it has generally been the result of a budgetary trigger that was never intended to go into effect. The most recent example of this is the 2011 Budget Control Act… Both because of its indiscriminate nature and because it is aimed at the wrong parts of the federal budget, sequestration is a bad way to make budget cuts. Politicians should instead do the job they were elected to do and make the tough choices necessary to put the budget on a sustainable trajectory.”

In a 2013 Slate article, Matthew Yglesias argued that sequestration isn’t necessarily all bad:

“A lot of liberals I read are very hot to trot with the idea that Congress should just repeal sequestration tout court. That’s definitely correct as a matter of basic Keynesian countercyclical stabilization policy and obviously it makes for a nice convergence point for people who want to keep the fiscal stimulus agenda in the discourse. But on the merits it seems to me that while sequestration is hardly optimal budget policy, it really isn’t all that bad in the scheme of things, and really going through with it would be better than repealing it. The key reason is that fully half the cuts are cuts to ‘defense’ spending, and yet nobody from either party is seriously trying to maintain that America will be left defenseless in the wake of this reduced military spending. The specific sequestration mechanism is clearly awkward and clumsy, but again nobody’s saying the Mexican army is going to come swarming over the border to reconquer Santa Fe, that the Taliban is now going to be able to outspend the Pentagon, or that America’s NATO allies are now left unable to fend off a Russian invasion. That’s half the cuts with basically zero real public policy harm. So then you look at the domestic side. Your basic transfer payments to poor people are spared, your transfer payments to the elderly are basically spared, and then everything else gets cut willy-nilly. That leads to some real policy harms. Valuable research grants are going to not happen. We’ll see some real bottlenecks at regulatory agencies. But obviously there’s some waste and fat in this domestic discretionary spending. Long story short, if you’re a defense dove like me and have a nonutopian view of the domestic discretionary budget, then this looks like we’re mostly talking about harmless spending cuts. It is very true that the current moment is not an optimal time to cut wasteful government spending. Given the high unemployment rate, the low and stable inflation rate, the low cost of federal borrowing, and the weird dynamics of ‘Evans Rule’ monetary policy, I would say that 2013 is an excellent time for the federal government to waste some money on make-work military contracting gigs. But in the grand scheme of things, wasting resources on low-value programs is not a great idea, and there’s more to life than timing. Sequestration, long story short, is not a great idea, and there are a lot of alternatives that I would deem superior, but it very much seems to me that doing it would be better policy than straightforwardly undoing it.”

This bill has eight Democratic cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had five Democratic cosponsors and didn’t see committee action.


Of NoteThe Budget Control Act introduced sequestration in 2011. Under sequestration, automatic, indiscriminate cuts were to be applied through FY 2021. These cuts were designed to decimate discretionary spending, and were intended to force Congress to enact a long-term deficit reduction plan; they weren’t ever meant to take effect.

Unfortunately, when Congress failed to agree on a solution to reduce the U.S. deficit, sequestration took effect for FY 2013. Since 2013, 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.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / DNY59)

AKA

Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to eliminate the section 251A sequestrations, and for other purposes.

    My heart says NO. However, the inability of Congress to negotiate in a bipartisan way unfortunately makes me say YES. While the Congress draws lines and takes a “my way or the highway” approach, we cannot have a rational budget that best represents all of the people. I blame most of this on Gingrich and his party-unity before all else doctrine. I blame McConnell who brags about killing legislation before it can even be debated. Without debate there can be no deliberation. When a party marches in lock step on policy, there is no forum left where reasonable compromise can be reached. There is no way to come to a budget which best supports the people and not highly funded special interest groups. So YES end sequestration until Congress can ‘right’ itself.
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    This is long, but bear with me to the end. Anything that cuts our bloated military budget is okay. It need serious cuts anyway. Like in half. 2% of GDP/10% federal budget max unless we are in a congressionally declared war against another country. A good chunk of the deficit problem is DOD’s blank check spending. The United States spent about $600 billion on “national defense” in 2017, according to the government’s definition. That includes spending on the base Pentagon budget, spending on Overseas Contingency Operations or current wars, and spending on defense-related activities in other agencies, including nuclear weapons activities in the Department of Energy. National defense spending, or the military budget, is more than 30 percent higher in real terms than in 2000. U.S. military spending is more than double what Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea collectively spend on their militaries. And that amount excludes $255 billion in security-related and foreign affairs spending in the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Veterans Affairs. The real reason that U.S. military spending is so high is not the threats it meets but the ambitions it serves. The primacy strategy of global military dominance fails to guide choices among military responses to danger. Because primacy sees threats and prescribes forces almost everywhere, it offers little basis for budgetary limits or prioritization. In that sense, it is less a strategy than a justification for expansive military ambitions. At a minimum, it endorses the present size of the U.S. military, with units permanently deployed in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, various training missions, and global naval patrols. A strategy of restraint, by contrast, would husband U.S. power and focus planning on actual threats. By keeping U.S. forces out of avoidable troubles, restraint would reduce the number of wars the Pentagon must plan to fight, allowing big reductions in military spending. A less busy military could be a smaller and cheaper one. Cuts guided by restraint would save far more than those offered by the most popular method of reducing spending, which is to target “waste, fraud, and abuse.” The latter approach objects less to U.S. military ambitions than to the Pentagon’s inefficiency in pursuing them. It recommends savings via managerial reforms — acquisition reforms, improved financial management, and empowering civilian technocrats to eliminate programs that seem redundant. The problem with that approach is that the spending it targets is a chimera. Everyone opposes “waste.” But attempts to find it reveal that nearly every military program does something and creates a political constituency who swear that the nation’s security requires its full funding. The Pentagon surely spends too much buying weapons, but the trouble is rarely sneaky contractors or rules that fail to control them, so much as satisfying those who rule over acquisitions: military leaders load in requirements to serve their service’s goals, and members of congressional defense committees defend the contracts that employ their constituents. Achieving real Pentagon savings requires having fewer goals and taking on the special interests dependent on the associated spending. A second alternative approach to cuts is the “Nike” way, in which you “just do it,” lowering the total and letting the Pentagon sort out the details. That is essentially the approach that the White House and congressional leadership inadvertently selected by agreeing to spending caps while asking the Pentagon to do everything it had been doing. One virtue of legislated future caps is that they lock in future Congresses. The difficulty of overcoming the status quo protects the cuts. This method also has the advantage of being the most doable; it is easier to agree on cutting spending than on a strategic rationale for doing so. In theory, budgetary restraint can drive efficiency and strategic restraint. Heightened resource constraints encourage service leaders to squeeze overhead costs more than instructions to find fat. Spending constraints also require more prioritization among goals, which is the essence of strategic planning. Particularly when interservice competition occurs, budgetary pressure can cause the services to debate priorities and offer alternatives to policymakers looking to limit objectives and save money. The Navy, for example, in promoting offshore methods of meeting threats, might highlight the risks of deploying U.S. ground forces to confront them and note the advantages of carrier-based airpower over land-based fighters. The strategic and Nike methods of cutting the budget could be fruitfully combined. Restraint, in the sense of having fewer allies and wars, is possible without budget cuts; but in the absence of fiscal pressure to adjust, restraint would likely be little more than a slogan used by those doing the same old things. By articulating a strategy of restraint, imposing lower caps, and encouraging interservice competition, leaders could get the best of both approaches. Proposed Cuts Restraint-oriented reforms would arrive gradually as the United States exited alliances, ended wars, closed facilities, and retired forces. They would be achieved by reducing commitments and military units. Divesting force structure would allow further savings in personnel, operations and maintenance, intelligence, and real estate costs. The cuts listed below would ultimately cut about 25 percent from current military spending projections. Proposed Military Spending Cuts Ground Forces Reduce active-duty Army end-strength to 360,000 or fewer soldiers. Reduce active-duty Marine Corps end-strength to 145,000 or fewer. Cap the Army Reserves at 165,000 soldiers. Reduce the Army National Guard to 290,000 soldiers. Reduce the Special Operations Command to 40,000. Reduce operations and personnel costs to match cuts in ground combat units. Navy and Air Force Reduce the number of carriers and associated air groups to eight. Retire at least three amphibious assault ships. Cease production of the littoral combat ship. End the F-35 program and buy less advanced fighter aircraft instead. Accelerate the shrinkage of the attack submarine force. Reduce the Air Force tactical aircraft fleet by at least a third. Reduce operations and personnel costs to match reduced force size. Nuclear Weapons Limit bombers and fighter aircraft to conventional (nonnuclear) missions. Retire intercontinental ballistic missiles. Cancel the new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Cancel upgrades to the B-61 gravity bomb. Administration Consolidate geographic combatant commands and overseas bases. Reduce three- and four-star commands. Reduce associated contracting and civilian personnel. Reform maintenance and supply systems. Cut spending on intelligence and missile defense. Adopt more cost-controlling reforms for military compensation. Pursue further base realignments and closures at home and abroad. Cut most Overseas Contingency Operations funding; leave only what is actually necessary to conduct the air campaign against the Islamic State. Restraint would take advantage of America’s geographic position and give the Navy a larger share of the Pentagon’s reduced budget. The Navy would shrink, but less than other services. Ships and submarines have access to most of the earth’s surface without the need for basing rights. With gains in range and massive increases in missile and bomb accuracy, carrier-based aircraft can deliver firepower to most targets, even in those states with considerable ability to defend their coastlines. The Navy would operate as a surge force that deploys to attack shorelines or open sea lanes, rather than pointlessly patrolling peaceful areas. Divested of presence-driven requirements, the Navy could reduce the number of carriers and associated air groups it operates to eight, retire at least three amphibious assault ships, cease production of the littoral combat ship, replace the floundering F-35 program with F/A-18s, and accelerate the shrinkage of the attack submarine force. These cuts would allow additional reductions in operations and personnel costs to match the reduced fleet size. Restraint recommends cuts to ground forces for two reasons. One is the dearth of conventional wars in which the United States might play a leading role. In the event of a conventional war on the Korean peninsula, in the Persian Gulf region, or even in Eastern Europe, wealthy U.S. allies should man the front lines. No modern Wehrmacht is poised to overcome them. The other reason is that counterterrorism is poorly served by manpower-intensive occupational wars, which rarely produce stability, let alone democracy. U.S. policymakers should cut the active-duty Army to 360,000 or fewer soldiers, as opposed to the current plan of 450,000, and reduce the Marine Corps’ end-strength size to 145,000 rather than 182,000. Because restraint requires less frequent deployments and reduces the emphasis on deployment speed, cuts to Reserve and National Guard forces would be proportionally smaller — the Reserves would be capped at 165,000 rather than 195,000 and the National Guard would shrink to 290,000 rather than 342,000. Reduced demand for military-to-military training and fewer wars would allow Special Operations Command to cut its current size of 63,000 down to 40,000. Restraint also recommends cutting the Air Force’s air wings across active and reserve forces. Few enemies today challenge U.S. air superiority, which is why so many missions go to drones and nonstealthy aircraft with limited ability to fend off rival aircraft or surface-to-air missiles. Recent advances in aircrafts’ ability to communicate, monitor targets, and precisely strike them with laser guidance and Global Positioning Systems have made each aircraft and sortie vastly more capable of destroying targets. Naval aviation, which also benefits from these gains, can bear most of the airpower load. The Air Force’s tactical aircraft fleet, including those in the National Guard, should be reduced by at least a third, allowing similar reductions in support units. Additional reductions to the Air Force budget could come from reducing its nuclear weapons spending. A credible nuclear deterrent does not require 1,900 nuclear weapons deployed on a triad of delivery vehicles — bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The new nuclear-armed cruise missile should be cut, and upgrades to the B-61 gravity bomb should be canceled. Shifting to a submarine-based monad could yield far larger savings. Even if extended deterrence — protecting allies from aggression — requires the ability to preempt enemy nuclear forces, which is doubtful, a submarine-launched ballistic missile force could achieve that goal. Thanks to accuracy gains, conventional cruise missiles could help by destroying hardened silos and threatening enemy arsenals. It is often said that the triad is necessary to ensure that U.S. nuclear forces survive preemptive attacks and thus to deter those attacks. But no enemy can reliably track U.S. ballistic missile submarines, let alone do so with the sort of reliability required to attempt a preemptive strike against all of them. Changes in that circumstance would be detectable in time to restore another leg, and air-launched cruise missiles could be stored as a hedge. The cuts to force structure listed above would allow additional reductions to the Pentagon’s administrative costs. Additional savings could come from consolidating combatant commands, reducing three- and four-star commands, reducing associated contracting and civilian personnel, and reforming maintenance and supply systems. Spending on intelligence and missile defense could also be reduced substantially. Independent of strategy, compensation costs — including basic pay, medical costs, housing allowances, and other benefits — need controlling. The cost of enlisted service members has virtually doubled since 2000, with compensation far exceeding comparable private-sector earnings. Service leaders and a bipartisan coterie of defense experts annually beg Congress to adopt cost-controlling reforms. Congress should accept more aggressive cost-saving proposals in these areas. Congress should also cut down on the Pentagon’s real estate spending, starting with another Base Realignment and Closure round. The Pentagon estimates that base capacity exceeds its needs by 20 percent and that the five rounds between 1988 and 2005 produced $12 billion in recurring annual savings. Additional cuts could target the Pentagon’s spending on overseas base infrastructure as the United States reduces commitments abroad. A rough estimate is that those cuts would reduce nonwar military spending by about 20 percent. Because the United States would fight fewer wars under a policy of restraint, it could also get rid of most OCO funding, leaving only the funds actually necessary to prosecute the air campaign against the Islamic State of about $20 billion a year. These reforms would yield a new military budget of $455 billion, which is about 25 percent lower than the present one. If the U.S. unauthorized wars and strikes continue in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, we should abandon this absurd pretense that they are somehow an unforeseen emergency. OCO should be folded into the base Pentagon budget, as occurred in some past wars. War spending should be included under an adjusted defense spending cap, still enforced by sequestration, which should be extended to 2025 at least. Keeping war spending uncapped encourages Congress, with the executive branch’s contrivance, to stash base defense money in OCO, a habit that reduces the need for overdue reforms in the Pentagon. The current arrangement also arguably gives Pentagon leaders incentive to support wars: it lets them reap OCO’s largesse. Moreover, leaving OCO spending uncapped makes its costs seem less than they are. Because distance, low costs, and safety already make U.S. wars seem nearly costless to most citizens, the wars commence with too little thought and debate. By requiring war to be paid for now, caps would make clear the tradeoffs between war and other priorities. That would spark some congressional debate as to the worth of those conflicts and slightly combat the tendency to wage war frivolously. Proponents of current military spending argue that a restrained military budget is a radical notion that will expose Americans to danger. But what is truly radical is the idea that U.S. security -requires- securing other rich nations in perpetuity, maintaining military interventions in several poor ones simultaneously, patrolling the seas endlessly, and spending the better part of a trillion dollars a year to those ends. Given the safety the United States can enjoy if it avoids looking for conflicts to manage, the proposals here are actually cautious. They would not only save a fortune but also might even keep U.S. forces out of avoidable trouble. References 1 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Mid-Session Review (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017). 2 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Historical Tables (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017), Table 8.2. 3 The Military Balance 2017: The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defense Economics (London: International Institute of Strategic Studies, 2017). 4 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Historical Tables (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017), Table 8.1. 5 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY2018, Mid-Session Review (Washington: Office of Management and Budget, 2017). 6 Grant A. Driessen and Marc Labonte, “The Budget Control Act of 2011 as Amended: Budgetary Effects,” Congressional Research Service, December 29, 2015. 7 Jim Tice, “Army shrinks to smallest level since before World War II,” Army Times, May 7, 2016. 8 Congressional Budget Office, “Long-Term Implications of the 2016 Future Years Defense Program,” January 2016, p. 2. 9 See, for example, Kelley Sayler, “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” Center for a New American Security, February 22, 2016. 10 See Benjamin H. Friedman, Christopher Preble, and Matt Fay. “The End of Overkill: Reassessing Nuclear Weapons Policy,” Cato Institute, September 24, 2013. 11 Lawrence J. Korb, Alex Rothman, and Max Hoffman, “Reforming Military Compensation: Addressing Runaway Personnel Costs is a National Imperative,” Center for American Progress, May 2012. See also Phillip Carter and Katherine Kidder, “Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization: A Primer,” Center for a New American Security, January 2015. 12 Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, “Pentagon to Congress: We Need Base Closures,” Defense News, April 15, 2016. See also Jim Garamone, “Pentagon Official Says DOD Needs More BRAC,” Department of Defense News, November 22, 2013.
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    I really cannot support ending sequestration ...however I fear it may be necessary in our current situation with GOP jamming everything up. Gingrich. McConnell. GOP. Bad news for USA citizens. We need to vote in a new sane administration, a new sane Senate, and keep the momentum in the House of Representatives where things have made a shift towards actually representing ‘We the people’ somewhat more since the 2018 midterms.
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    The most likely way to achieve significant reductions in spending is by across-the-board cuts. Each reduction of 1% in the $3.6 trillion federal budget would yield roughly $36 billion the first year and would reduce the budget baseline in future years. Even with modest reductions, this is real money. Let’s give up the politically pointless effort to pick and choose among programs, accept the political reality of current allocations, and reduce everything proportionately. No one program would be very much disadvantaged. In many cases, a 1% or 3% reduction would scarcely be noticed. Are we really to believe that a government that spent $2.7 trillion five years ago couldn’t survive a 3% cut that would bring spending to “only” $3.5 trillion today? Every household, company and nonprofit organization across America can do this, as can state and local governments. So could Washington.
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    Increase the taxes on the billionaire and millionaire class. The wealthiest in this country have gained 21 trillion dollars since the 80s, the bottom 50% have lost 90 billion dollars. It is time to shift our tax code to reflect these values.
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    Zero based budgeting is the only way to go and would lessen graft and keep the negative effects of lobbying out of Congress. The only reason I can see for eliminating sequestration is too make trump look better going into the elections. He’s done a tremendous amount of spending on ridiculous things mostly within the military and it’s time to pay for those things. It’s not going to be with more deficit spending or tax cuts for the wealthy or arms sales or walls or military budgets greater than the next 9 countries put together or on the backs of the poor or those trying to retire or those in need of comprehensive healthcare or a country in need of infrastructure. You and your Administration need to be held accountable.
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    Congress needs to cut spending.
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    👍🏻👍🏻 H.R. 2110 AKA the ‘’Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019 👍🏻👍🏻 I support and recommend the passage of the House bill H.R. 2110 AKA the ‘’Relief From Sequestration Act of 2019 ‘’ which would eliminate sequestration for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Sequestration refers to budget caps which, if they aren’t waived by Congress, would cause spending cuts of $125 billion per year from current appropriations levels. Sequestration isn’t necessarily all bad, as it forces cuts to low-value programs across the federal budget. Rather than throwing sequestration out altogether, it’d be more valuable to proactively plan ahead in budgeting to ensure sequestration isn’t triggered. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻HR-2110👍🏻👍🏻. 6.15.19.....
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    We have a deficit problem, and need a budget, but in the meantime - we want to spend more money. Absolutely not.
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    Sequestration is a gimmick that harms Americans and limits what we can do to grow and defend our country.
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    GOP outlandish foolish overspending needs to be STOPPED!!! TRUMP has PUT u.S. A. Trillions of dollars in DEBT that his BRAINWASHED minions NEED TO BE SLAPPED ACROSS WITH in the FACE!!!!
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    This bill is useless because it does not offer a suggestion for resolution. What part of managing budgets and cutting expenses to decrease the deficit do Congress members don't understand? It is their job to do so in which they have failed miserably.
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    Sequestration isn’t necessarily all bad, as it forces cuts to low-value programs across the federal budget. Rather than throwing sequestration out altogether, it’d be more valuable to proactively plan ahead in budgeting to ensure sequestration isn’t triggered.
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    This country has to do what is RIGHT, cutting tax for the wealthy and putting MORE tax on poor IS NOT RIGHT. LYING about jobs is better in America is an obfuscating narrative. And America knows it.
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    We need to balance the budget and pay off the debt. Lets start by not paying congress until it is done. I bet you will figure it out very quickly then.
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    The point of it was to force you to do your job to avoid it occurring. Plan ahead, work together, or else. It hasn’t worked because congress hasn’t worked. Our spending is out of control, we need to fix it by making difficult decisions. Getting rid of this would just remove a stick.
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    I say cut the defense budget, not programs for the most vulnerable Americans. Republicans are always budget hawks when out of power. When they have the reins, we get massive tax cuts for the rich on top of the welfare they already receive. We need to be fiscally responsible, but we need to address the wealth gap that is denying ordinary Americans their right to pursue happiness. There is no true freedom without equity.
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    There no need for this Proposal. This is ridiculous Democrat games attempting to be played. We will never have term limits to rid our Congress from asinine law makers such as this one.
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    We need budget caps. Yes sequestration has been hard on a few programs, but that is what fiscal responsibility is all about, cutting out programs or defunding them in order to prevent budget overspending. It is no wonder a left-leaning politician is essentially calling for an end of budget caps altogether. Socialism is funny that way. Keep using money you don’t have, throwing it at the problems but not solving any of the root causes.
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    It is unfortunate that the US Congress continually fails to budget what we can afford. If you do not want sequestration, quit spending 23 trillion dollars more than we have. There will be a day of reckoning over debt. I believe most legislators plan on being retired before this happens. I fear the concept of “To big to fail” is believed by the majority of our legislators. The United States of America is NOT to big to fail. What would I have you take from this is stop spending trillions of dollars we do not have.
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