Congress faces three massive spending challenges in the coming months: the debt ceiling, the Sequester and funding to keep the government open.
The question now is whether President Obama and the Congress will tackle our spending problem as these three critical events approach.
They're all on the heels of the fiscal cliff deal that both raised taxes and increased spending. I voted against that bill because it denied the core problem: Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
As most of us across East Alabama know, the Treasury Department recently announced it will likely reach the debt ceiling around the end of February or early March. After that point, the Treasury will then be unable to pay our nation's bills without an increase to the debt ceiling. The cause: constant spending.
Should the U.S. default, many argue our credit rating could be downgraded, the economy could suffer a devastating blow and we could be plunged into a long term recession.
As Washington's battle over the debt ceiling heats up, on March 1, the indiscriminate Sequestration cuts, delayed by the fiscal cliff deal, will go into effect. Sequestration is scheduled to cut 9.4 percent from the Defense budget and 8.2 percent from domestic programs.
Sequestration was originally conceived to be so devastating that Washington would be forced to come together and replace it with a reasonable long-term plan to reduce spending. That didn't happen.
On top of all of these issues, the law that funds the government expires on March 27. That means we are facing the real possibility of a government shutdown if Congress can't agree on a budget. Again, spending is the problem.
Out of control spending drives our growing debt that forces showdowns over raising the debt ceiling. It fuels desires by some to raise taxes. It forces us as a nation to unnecessarily choose between priorities.
An old saying goes, "before you can fix a problem, you first have to recognize you have one." Will President Obama and the Congress work to solve our spending problem? I hope so. It is going to require tough choices.
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