Daily Caller –
WASHINGTON — Announcing the budget deal he reached with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday he was thankful Republicans were at least able to keep in place the automatic spending cuts that went into effect across government agencies earlier this year.
“That’s been a top priority for me and my Republican colleagues throughout this debate,” the Senate Minority Leader said on the floor of the Senate, referencing what’s known as the sequester. “And it’s been worth the effort.”
But while the deal freezes in place current spending numbers, the budget deal actually blows through the sequester spending caps that were supposed to go into effect on Oct. 1 — by nearly $20 billion.
Here are the numbers: The Budget Control Act of 2011 created the automatic spending cuts across the government, mandating a discretionary budget in fiscal year 2013 of $986 billion.
On Oct. 1, more sequester cuts were supposed to bring the discretionary budget down to $967 billion for fiscal year 2014.
But the amount of the spending cap in the McConnell-Reid deal for the next three months is frozen temporarily at $986 billion — $19 billion more than the government is supposed to be able to spend this fiscal year.
Defenders of McConnell point out that at least his deal stopped Democrats from completely killing these automatic spending cuts. President Barack Obama and Harry Reid want to do away with them and increase the budget to $1.058 trillion.
The freezing of the spending cuts comes as conservative note that the sequester has actually been successful in reducing government. Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore put it this way in August: “The biggest underreported story out of Washington this year is that the federal budget is shrinking and much more than anyone in either party expected.”