Instead of 'sequester,' take a scalpel to spending
By Keith Rothfus
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, take effect on Friday. These cuts, proposed by President Obama as part of his 2011 deal to increase the debt limit, are indiscriminate and fail the first step of good budgeting: prioritization.
Our national debt and chronic trillion-dollar deficits are unacceptable. They damage economic growth and threaten future prosperity.
We need to control spending so that we do not run out of money for critical items such as seniors' and veterans' health care, infrastructure projects and a robust military capable of deterring aggressors. This is not the way to do it.
Instead of these arbitrary, across-the-board cuts, which will impact selected domestic and military programs, Mr. Obama and the Senate should work with the House to take a scalpel to spending.
The House has twice passed alternatives to the sequester, but the Senate has not voted on those solutions or any of their own.
Our federal government will spend more than $3.7 trillion this year. Replacing the sequester requires finding $84 billion in smart cuts to that budget. Here are a few things we could eliminate to begin replacing the sequester:
• $2.2 billion by ending the federal government's cellphone giveaway
• $100 million in Environmental Protection Agency grants to foreign countries
• $7.7 billion by implementing recommendations of the inspector general of the Social Security Administration to reduce improper payments
• $1.8 billion by eliminating President Obama's “renewable energy” fund
• $10 billion by eliminating President Obama's public health slush fund
• $26 billion by enforcing the eligibility standards for food stamps.
Instead of looking for ways to curtail the spending binge he started, Obama wants a third tax hike on hardworking Americans in less than three months. No one in Washington should be talking about raising taxes when the federal government is wasting billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
Instead, we should prioritize the spending that is important and cut the spending that is not. Western Pennsylvania families and businesses do that every single day and expect the federal government to do the same.
On behalf of my constituents in Western Pennsylvania, I call on President Obama to bring forward a credible plan that does not raise taxes and replaces his indiscriminate cuts by taking a scalpel to wasteful government spending.
Keith Rothfus, a Republican, represents Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates trade for Mets 1B Davis
- Pittsburgh-area students on the hunt for the perfect prom dress
- Crews search for Latrobe woman in Linn Run State Park
- Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional
- Hempfield native, 22, publishes with local independent press
- Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
- Sculpture at Phipps links art and sustainability
- Pa. unemployment rate falls to lowest since 2008; 12,000 more enter workforce
- Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers