Government Bytes


Is Congress Preparing to Soften the Debt Deal Trigger?

by Brandon Greife / /

If you’ve paid attention to Washington long enough, you’ve likely learned you can never stop paying attention. Let down your guard, even for a split second, and Congress is sure to find some way to avoid the hard choices required to reduce our debt.

The bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit was written to be foolproof. If the deficit “supercommittee” could not agree with $1.2 trillion in cuts, the authors of the deal built in a trigger that would make automatic cuts to Medicare and defense spending. The idea was to make the cuts so politically toxic as to force the supercommittee to act.

Well, they were half right. The cuts are toxic; but rather than forcing the supercommittee’s hand, they’re encouraging some lawmakers to try and void the trigger altogether.

Politico reports:

Lawmakers from both parties have warned what a disaster the automatic spending cuts would be if the deficit-slashing supercommittee fails to reach a deal in just under three weeks.

But the reality is that the so-called trigger might not carry the live round everyone fears.

A growing number of lawmakers are already talking about reversing the automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that would go into effect if the supercommittee doesn’t find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Nov. 23.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) confirmed Thursday that they’re working on “alternative” legislation that would scale back the size of cuts that can be made to the Pentagon. On the other side of the political spectrum, liberals are talking about rolling back automatic cuts to domestic programs.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” So keep your eyes peeled, your ear to the ground, and your finger in the wind, because Washington needs to know that we’re watching, and we won’t accept anything less than the already modest deficit reductions that were promised.