Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced bipartisan legislation today to temper the effects of the automatic, indiscriminate budget cuts commonly called sequestration, which went into effect last week. The Udall-Collins plan would give the executive branch more flexibility in implementing the cuts while also allowing Congress to conduct appropriate oversight throughout the process.
"With sequestration upon us, it is incumbent on Congress to replace these indiscriminate and arbitrary cuts with more prudent, strategic choices," Udall said. "Our national security, the economy and job creators throughout Colorado are counting on us to find a better, bipartisan way forward. Although I would have preferred that Congress had passed a comprehensive and balanced deficit-reduction plan to replace the sequester, the Udall-Collins plan is the only immediate way to temper the effects sequestration will have on our economy and national security."
"Our bipartisan plan would help mitigate the harmful effects of sequestration by allowing agency heads more flexibility to set priorities in reducing their budgets," Collins said. "While I continue to talk with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and with the White House, on how we could produce a sound, long-term fiscal plan to replace the indiscriminate cuts of sequestration, I believe our plan shows that it is possible to work together on a responsible, thoughtful plan to reduce our deficit, protect the jobs of hard-working Americans, and avoid mindless, meat-ax spending cuts."
The Udall-Collins bill:
Empowers the executive branch to work with Congress and propose the best way to administer what would otherwise be automatic, arbitrary budget cuts required under the Budget Control Act.
Requires that the Administration send its spending proposal for each department to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees for review and approval, providing appropriate Congressional oversight and input.
Provides authorities for the Department of Defense to start new projects and programs that have been approved, but have been on hold due to the inability of Congress to adopt a full-year defense appropriations bill.