The Washington Post reports that pressure is dropping to reach a budget deal to cut the deficit, complete with a picture of Paul Ryan having a sad. The pressure to cut the deficit is dropping because the deficit is already being cut. The economy is improving, which means more tax revenue and lower spending on safety net programs. Also, Congress already enacted large tax increases and spending cuts when it passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 and avert the “fiscal cliff” at the end of 2012.
While cutting the deficit further is not an urgent priority, reaching a budget deal should be. That’s because a portion of the spending cuts already enacted by Congress is “sequestration,” an across-the-board cut that is causing problems throughout the country. Republicans oppose the cuts to military spending, and Democrats are primarily concerned about the cuts in domestic programs. Neither side likes sequestration. It was included in the debt ceiling package to encourage a future budget deal that would replace the across-the-board cuts.