Though he questions how some of the cuts have been implemented, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, thinks the sequester was a positive step toward getting federal spending under control.
“In my judgment, the pain has not been too great,” he told The Eagle editorial board this week.
In general, he’s right. Though the sequester was a dysfunctional way to govern, it isn’t too much to ask the government to trim $85 billion from its budget. And some of the cuts ordered by agencies, such as ending public tours of the White House, appear more political than responsible.
Pompeo doesn’t want to diminish how the sequester is affecting some families, but he notes that nearly every business in Wichita has had to deal with budget cuts. And there is no place that knows furloughs like Wichita, he said.
Pompeo also notes that with a few exceptions, most government agencies still are receiving more money than they did in 2009-10. So if those agencies were able to do their jobs in 2010, why can’t they do them now? If the Federal Aviation Administration was able to operate control towers at rural airports in 2010, Pompeo asked, why did it have to cut that as part of the sequester?
Congress isn’t immune to the cuts. Pompeo said that his office budget this year will be about 15 percent less than it was in 2011, his first year in Congress. As a result, he expects to have one or two fewer employees.
Though he described the sequester cuts as a “wide-open layup,” Pompeo recognizes that it can be difficult to cut domestic spending, especially at a level that would make a real impact on the federal budget. But that makes him optimistic that Congress will recognize the need to tackle entitlement spending, which is the main cause of long-term budget concerns.
Here’s hoping he is right about that, too.
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