In Washington, everyday is Groundhog Day

February 2, 2012

Today is Groundhog Day. This morning, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole and saw his shadow – indicating we’re in for another six weeks of winter.

But in Washington, it seems like everyday is Groundhog Day. It seems like everyday we hear about plans to cut spending and restore fiscal responsibility. But every time we end up disappointed. This week, the Congressional Budget Office released its Budget and Economic Outlook that projected the deficit for fiscal 2012 would exceed $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

In the latest manifestation of lawmakers’ unwillingness to make the difficult decisions, a group of Senators is exploring ways to put off the automatic cuts triggered by the supercommittee’s failure. This morning, Senators Jon Kyl (AZ), John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Cornyn (TX) and Kelly Ayotte (NH) introduced a plan to “delay for a year more than $1 trillion in mandatory cuts – half of which would come from the Pentagon — by trimming the federal workforce and extending a pay freeze for federal employees imposed by the Obama administration.”

The automatic cuts that are currently scheduled to go into effect in January 2013 have raised concerns among some that it would hollow out the Pentagon’s budget and put our national security at risk. While we agree cuts to defense spending must be done carefully, there are few that will argue there is no room for cutbacks in the DoD’s budget.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember why the automatic cuts were put into place – to provide some incentive for the bipartisan supercommittee to produce a credible deficit reduction plan. And the automatic cuts can still be reversed if lawmakers are able to put together a proposal to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Consider that our deficit for the next year alone is projected to reach $1.08 trillion and that requirement doesn’t seem quite so insurmountable.

It’s time for Washington to get serious about fixing our economy. Congress must stop playing politics with the nation’s bottom line and start proposing real solutions that will lead to real growth.

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