The Norman Transcript


October 4, 2012

Session unlikely to end debate in Congress over sequestration



“The administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy and that Congress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction package.”

The president has proposed plans for cuts on two separate occasions. His Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction was presented to the Joint Committee in September 2011, and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget proposed “$2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue. Both plans included over $4 trillion in deficit reduction, including the deficit reduction in the BCA itself, far exceeding the amount that would have been required of the Joint Committee to avoid sequestration.”

The report said Congress members have focused “on unbalanced solutions” that “do not represent realistic, fair or responsible ways to avoid sequestration.”

Inhofe disagrees and believes he has a plan that will work.

It’s not a plan Democrats are likely to favor, and the senator said his best hopes of getting the bill passed will come after newly elected officials take office Jan. 2. He said Republicans anticipate a majority in the House and Senate.

Inhofe’s proposal, Sequestration Prevention Act of 2012 (S.3473), repeals the sequestration established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and offers a long-term solution that proposes to offset the cost of $61.2 billion over 10 years.

The legislation replaces the $1.2 trillion sequestration cuts with the following:

· Repeals portions of the health care bill.

· Eliminates the federal food stamp program and replaces it with block grants to the states, allowing states to design and manage their own programs.

· Reduces Medicaid spending by $1.2 trillion and will hand over the management of the program to the states.

· Reduces Non-Defense Discretionary Spending to FY 2006 levels.

· Freezes non-defense spending at FY 06 levels through FY 2017; allows 2 percent annual increase thereafter.

· Reduces the federal work force by 10 percent through attrition.

· Enacts Medical Malpractice Tort Reform by capping non-economic damages at $250,000 and punitive damages at $250,000 or twice the amount of economic damages, whichever is greater.

· Repeals funding of activities related to climate change and global warming.

Inhofe has voiced strong concerns on the impact of sequestration to the defense industry and national security.



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