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MSU experts provide historical perspective on sequestration

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 06:12:35 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

While the country watches the countdown to cuts, remember, this isn't the first time we've seen substantial, spending cuts.

We checked and found the idea for sequestration came about in the Reagan era with the Balanced Budget Emergency Deficit Control Act.  Like the act lawmakers are working off of today, the law was designed to give Congress an incentive to enact real, reasonable budget cuts or face automatic cuts.

Even before the Balanced Budget Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, we've felt the impacts of spending cuts- nearly 300 billion over three years in 1982.

While experts say the incentive to come up with budget reductions or face automatic cuts has been largely effective over the years, you might recall a partial government shutdown over Medicaid, environmental, and education expenditure arguments back in the mid '90's.

Yet, they say if Congress doesn't reach a deal this time, it could be a different story.

"It's across the board, almost.  I mean, there are a handful of programs that are exempt from the sequestration but the consequences are going to be much, much wider this time than they were in the '90's," says MSU Political Science Professor Eric Austin.
     
Austin tells me, at times, it seemed like Congress would reach an agreement.
     
He says, under the 2011 Budget Act, there were efforts to create a super committee that would bring together both parties.
     
At the same time, Austin says the Simpson-Bowles Committee came together to make recommendations to administration.
     
There was some movement in Congress towards those suggestions but, ultimately, both measures failed.