Up | February 24, 2013
>>> we are now just five days away from the latest self-imposed budget deadline in washington. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are panicking. unless president obama and congressional republicans can reach some sort of broader deficit reduction agreement or at least another temporary deal, the government will face a series of automatic spending cuts known as sequestration which will total $85 billion this year and a trillion over the next decade. half will be to military spending an half to discretionary programs across the entire government. the past few weeks virtually everyone in washington has been condemning what has been come to be known as the sequester as a devastating policy that will affect nearly every aspect of american life .
>> these cuts are not smart, they are not fair, they will hurt our economy.
>> for the sake of our hard-working men and women at our ports, congress can't allow the sequester to happen.
>> travelers should expect delays.
>> it's going to be very disruptive to our food supply .
>> we can't strand our researchers, we cannot say to our scientists fold up your work.
>> why in god's name would members of congress elected by the american people take a step that would badly damage our national defense , but more importantly undermine the support for our men and women in uniform?
>> so the sequester is sort of a ticking time bomb but it's also a poorly designed time bomb . the same percentage sequestration shall apply to all programs, projects and activities within a budget account. on the one hand that's incredibly strict. it means all agencies must cut the same amount from their budgets. but it's somewhat unclear what constitutes programs, projects and activities. if the national institutes of health gives out x dollars for cancer research grants, it will have to eliminate 5% of the grants or cut each grant by 5%. if the deadline does pass, the office of budget will be charged with figuring that out. the congressional budget office projects that the cuts may land us back in recession and result in 750,000 job losses this year alone. on top of that the bipartisan policy center suggests sequester won't have that much effect on our national debt . debt as a percentage of gdp will reach 100% just two years later than otherwise. so to recap, no one wants a sequester, no one knows how it will work. it could put us back in recession and does almost nothing to reduce the debt. if that's the case, why don't both houses of congress pass a one sentence law repealing it and the president with sign it. problem solved. i want my panel to answer that question right after