The clock is ticking on the Congressional Budget Conference Committee, which only has eight days left to cobble together a budget before the Dec. 13 deadline. And though lawmakers have signaled that they are close to a deal, nothing is certain.
Budgeteers in both parties are aiming for a deal that cancels the second wave of sequester cuts authorized under the Budget Control Act of 2011. To undo those cuts, they’ll have to find savings in other areas. Some potential elements in the emerging deal include raising federal employees’ contributions to their pension funds, or having the Federal Communications Commission auction rights to electromagnetic spectrum, according to congressional aides.
As difficult as it may be for Republicans and Democrats to agree on a narrow package to replace the sequester cuts, much more difficult choices lay ahead. As the Congressional Budget Office put it in a report released last month: “To put the federal budget on a sustainable long-term path, lawmakers would need to make significant policy changes—allowing revenues to rise more than would occur under current law, reducing spending for large benefit programs to amounts below those currently projected, or adopting some combination of those approaches.” Continue reading “Federal Budget: 10 Cuts That Would Save the Most”