Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bipartisan amendment that would allow Congress and the White House to work collaboratively to strategically implement sequestration. The amendment to the Continuing Resolution, which prevents a government shutdown at the end of March, mirrors a plan they introduced earlier this year.
"Colorado businesses and families know that indiscriminate, across-the-board budget cuts are one of the worst ways to improve your bottom line. This amendment will give the White House and Congress the tools they need to strategically implement sequestration," Udall said. "We can do better than throwing up our hands. This amendment will allow us to make these cuts without sacrificing our national security or wounding the economy."
"Our amendment would help mitigate the harmful effects of the indiscriminate, meat-ax cuts, known as sequestration, which took effect on March 1," Collins said. "It would not reverse the automatic spending reductions, but would empower the heads of federal agencies and departments to set priorities and implement the cuts in a smarter way that helps reduce our debt and protect the jobs of hard-working Americans. Right now, sequestration will be applied without distinction between high and low priority programs, but our amendment would allow cuts to be targeted at programs that do not work while sparing those programs that do."
Numerous members of Congress have introduced amendments to the Continuing Resolution, proposing flexibility for individual agencies or departments that were quickly hit by the effects of sequestration. These reactive amendments underline the need for the proactive and bipartisan Udall-Collins amendment.
The Udall-Collins amendment would:
-Empower 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.
-Require 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.
Last year Udall and Collins wrote an op-ed in USA Today where they pressed Congress to reach a solution on the deficit and sequestration.