A Firm Step Forward

The Bipartisan Budget Act reduces the deficit and doesn’t raise taxes — that’s a start.
By Paul Ryan

Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray and I introduced the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. It’s the first budget agreement of its kind since 1986, and I’m proud to support it. This bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion. It won’t raise taxes. And it will cut spending in a smarter way. It doesn’t go as far as I’d like. But it’s a firm step in the right direction.

First, let’s remember how we got here: In 2011, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act. The law tasked a twelve-member “supercommittee” with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. And to spur them to action, the law essentially made a threat: If the committee couldn’t come to an agreement, the law would order arbitrary, across-the-board cuts — known as the sequester — to get those savings. It would make half of the cuts in defense programs and the other half in domestic programs. In other words, the alternative to an agreement would be so painful that the supercommittee would just have to reach one.

Unfortunately, the committee couldn’t come to an agreement. And this year, the sequester took effect. Now, House Republicans wanted to keep these savings. In fact, we wanted to save more. But we didn’t think our troops should bear the brunt of these cuts. The Defense Department warned it would have to shrink our armed forces and make serious cuts to training, readiness, and modernization. Members of both parties quickly realized there was a better way to cut spending.

Read the full op-ed at National Review.