Budget

Issa, Obama still seek sequester alternatives

Obama as jedi 

In a White house picture published on Twitter, President Barack Obama uses pop-culture references to "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" to promote an alternative to sequestration.

The chairman of an oversight committee is calling on federal agencies to pinpoint unnecessary programs that could be jettisoned as an alternative to the spending cuts directed under the sequestration.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to 17 agency heads, saying the across-the-board cuts cannot be stopped “without a plan to end the undisciplined and unsustainable federal spending that resulted in the sequester in the first place.”

The chairman urged the federal government to shed more waste, such as redundant and nonessential agency programs. “The president agrees. He cited cutting government spending on ‘wasteful programs that don’t work’ as part of his preferred alternative to the sequester,” Issa wrote. ”I am writing to request your assistance in identifying such programs.”

Raising taxes on citizens would not be the answer to sequestration, he wrote. “Put simply, it is not a prudent way to address the rapid expansion of government spending,” Issa said.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has published details of his most recent compromise offer to House Speaker John Boehner, which the document says is "still on the table," and promoted it with a picture published to Twitter using "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" catch-phrases. (The image was apparently inspired by Obama's extemporaneous mixing of the two sci-fi universes in a news conference.)

Issa’s letter references recommendations from inspectors general that the oversight committee received on cutting waste. Those suggestions would add up to $85 billion in spending cuts.

Many of these suggestions could be implemented in the short term, Issa said, such as the Transportation Department instituting an integrated master schedule framework, policy and standard operating procedures to create the Next Generation Transportation System to combat waste and boost efficiency.

While both sides continue to present alternatives, there is little sign of willingness to compromise. The Obama administration has similarly complained that the sequester's across-the-board cuts are bad policy, but has opposed GOP efforts to grant the administration more discretion in making the cuts. In his March 1 press conference, Obama asserted that "these cuts are "happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made."

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

'The first thing we do is close the Washington Monument'. The cuts, so far, are DESIGNED to annoy the public, so they will lean on their reps and senators. Everyone working for the feds knows of stupid stuff and duplications that could easily be eliminated, and combined together, probably make the budget targets. But the public would not see any difference in most cases, and might start questioning how all the bloat and empire building happened in the first place.

Fri, Mar 8, 2013

The House still has budget power. They generate the spending bills, which they have. The Senate must vote to approve. They haven't. The Senate is the problem.

Thu, Mar 7, 2013

When you're reeling from the worst (self inflicted) financial crisis since the Great Depression, you do NOT pass a $940B health care entitlement. Read Obamacare. If a person loses his/her job, he/she does not immediately go out and buy an even bigger house. That's effectively what the president and his supermajority did during '08 -'10 with Obamacare. The deficit hasn't gotten close to being down where it was when Bush left office. We left Iraq already and the deficit is still sky high. Obama and his self declared "legacy" (Obamacare) has put us in this position. So the big question is how to cut back on it or Medicare. No one is addressing this and in fact the president has declared entitlements off limits!! Are you kidding me?? Trying to reduce the deficit to any measurable extent entirely on the discretionary side is not possible. And it hurts a lot of people, more so directly than trimming entitlements. Cruel.

Tue, Mar 5, 2013

Let me see if I have this right, "undisciplined and unrestrained FEDERAL [my emphasis] spending" caused the sequester? Who, exactly, funded those who are somehow undisciplined and unrestrained that caused us to get to this record deficit? Right, Congress did, the originators of the sequester who could not discipline themselves to "just say no" when annual budgets came around for funding....or has the House lost its budget power recently?

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 Cowboy Joe

He can't make fun of his own constituency any better'n that.

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