Over the last couple of weeks, the main-stream media has been covering the budget sequestration that goes into effect on this Friday, March 1. Oklahomans are concerned about this because of the mandatory defense spending cuts that count for 50% of the cuts included in the sequestration.
The Director of Communications of Oklahoma District 2 Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s office has issued a statement which highlights the cuts that will be made to government spending.
- Sequestration was implemented in 2011 under the Budget Control Act.
- The sequestration makes across the board cuts within four spending accounts:
- Defense Mandatory (7.8% cut or $42.6 billion)
- Defense Discretionary (7.9% cut or $53 billion)
- Non-Defense Mandatory (5.8% cut or $14 billion)
- Non-Defense Discretionary (5.3% cut or $29 billion)
- In total, $85.3 billion will be cut. This is split evenly between Defense and Non-Defense accounts ($42.7 billion each).
- The following accounts are exempt from the sequester:
- Social Security
- Military and Civilian Retirement
- Most Low-Income Programs
- SNAP (food stamps)
- Veterans Programs
- Net Interest on the Debt
- Cuts to Medicare are capped at 2%.
The debate over these cuts has resulted in a great deal of finger pointing among the two houses of Congress and the office of the President. The President is stating that the cuts were the idea of the republicans in the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has stated that these cuts were the White House’s idea. The democrat controlled Senate has not passed a budget since 2008.
On February 25 Congressman Mullin issued a press release that compares the players in this debate to an argument over Thanksgiving dinner. He states that the members of Congress are too worried about winning their next election rather than making the hard decisions to cut programs that are not working. The debate over the budget should not be about party loyalty or re-election. It should be about what is best for America.