Sessions Skeptical of Gang’s Proposal

by Andrew Stiles

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has serious concerns over the framework unveiled by the Gang of Six. Sessions points out that while the plan claims about $4.5 trillion in overall deficit reduction, the measures outlined in the proposal would, if “followed to the letter,” yield a mere $1.2 trillion in savings over ten years. “While I am confident the proposal would surely achieve more deficit reduction than that,” he said in a statement, “legislative language will be essential to calculate how savings will occur and in what amount.”

Of course, relying on Democrats to actually enforce, through such language, the additional $3.3 trillion in deficit reduction is one of Sessions’s primary concerns. He also notes that the discretionary savings outlined in the plan would be achieved by freezing spending at current levels, not through a net spending cut. “We must have true reduction of current levels since baseline discretionary spending has increased 24 percent in the last 2 years — we cannot ‘freeze in’ this inflated level,” Sessions says. Furthermore, these “savings” are realized according to baselines that already project massive increases in spending, so the spending “cuts” serve merely to slow the rate of that increase, not rein it in entirely.

He argues that the plan would raise taxes by “at least $1 trillion,” which “would dampen the economy and provide an excuse for lawmakers to continue wasteful spending,” and does not contain “the type of entitlement reforms necessary to avoid an explosion of debt down the road.” 

Overall, he finds the package to be severely lacking: “What is clear is that this proposal achieves nowhere near the amount of cuts necessary to bring our budget into balance, but settles merely for ‘stabilizing’ our debt as it continues to increase year after year.”

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