Contact Us

What Is The Sequester?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Talking heads and news outlets talk about this “sequester,” but what exactly is it?

To put it simply: it is a series of spending cuts and revenue hikes aimed at reducing the nation’s deficit through a bill so ugly that it would force Congress and the White House to find a solution.

The initial bill, the Budget Control Act of 2011, is what laid out these provisions into federal law in exchange for an increased debt ceiling in August 2011.  The bill called for a “supercommittee” to come together and develop a plan to reduce the nation’s debt and get control of the nation’s budget.  If this committee could not come up with a solution, the nation was supposed to see higher tax (via expiring federal tax cuts; the “Fiscal Cliff”) and a large cut in federal spending (the “sequester”) on December 31st, 2012.

Well, that supercommittee did not do its job, leading to the fiscal cliff debate.  Although the deadline had passed, Congress worked out a solution that would allow most Americans to keep their Bush-era tax cuts, but give up their payroll tax cut.  It also punted the sequester portion of the bill to a new deadline of March 1st.

The sequester itself is a $1.2 trillion slashing of government spending on the next 10 years, with this year seeing the first $85 billion cut in spending.  The cuts are designed to be taken from military spending and social programs, however the cuts aren’t clearly defined and would be decided up when the sequester does take effect.

Congress has several options before the 11:59pm deadline passes.  They can allow the sequester to occur, vote on a permanent solution to the budget deficit and debt, or vote to kick the can a few months down the road.  The hard part, and the original purpose of the Budget Control Act of 2011, is getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on the same bill to pass both houses.

Best of 710 KEEL

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KEEL VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KEEL VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.