WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), today joined with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan and Senate Democrats in calling on Congress to reverse sequester cuts that threaten economic growth and military readiness.  Reed, along with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) called for bipartisan cooperation to raise the spending levels for both defense and domestic programs equally.

***Watch Senator Reed's remarks at the press conference***

The across-the-board cuts known as the sequester were authorized by Congress in 2011 to end the brinksmanship by those on the far right who threatened to force a default on America’s debt for the first time in modern U.S. history.  Congress came within a day of default before reaching an agreement to avert economic devastation.  The sequester was designed to be so painful that no one would ever let it take effect.  But now some in Congress are claiming these indiscriminate cuts as a victory of sorts and blocking a balanced solution.

“We have heard it from our top military, intelligence, business, and community leaders: Sequestration is a threat to our economy and national security capabilities.  We need a sensible, balanced approach to address this issue.  And that means bipartisan leadership to end job-killing sequester cuts for both domestic and defense programs,” said Reed.  “Simply put, Congress must pursue smarter, more responsible budgeting.”

While some on Capitol Hill have proposed plans to exempt defense accounts from the spending caps while squeezing domestic spending on programs for working Americans, Senator Reed made it clear he would not support such short-sighted efforts.

“We need to reverse sequestration to make the smart, necessary investments to improve our aging infrastructure and provide support that is crucial to growing the middle-class.  Simply put, these cuts are not acceptable to the Department of Defense or domestic agencies.  We cannot just fix one side of the ledger, but not the other because they both support our national defense and economic security.  So I hope Congress can come to a principled agreement this year that rolls back the caps,” concluded Reed. 

Under sequestration, for Fiscal Year 2016, defense spending is capped at $523 billion and $493 billion for non-defense spending.

OMB Director Donovan said he hopes Congress can produce a budget agreement similar to the compromise reached in December, 2013, which eased sequestration for two years.