If Congress can't reach an agreement on spending soon, an automatic process called "sequestration" will start on January first.
It's a holdover from the failed "supercommittee" process of last winter. That bi-partisan group couldn't agree on cuts needed to reduce the federal deficit. Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith says at least the tone of the debate has changed -- from how much to spend to how much to cut.
"We're working and doing the right thing to make sure cuts are in the right place," Smith says. "There is some bipartisan concern that some of these changes would undermine the security of our country with the military. We can always look for a better way, a more efficient way of spending dollars, even in the military."
Smith says he doesn't agree that defense cuts should be off the table completely.
"I don't want to be that arbitrary about it," Smith says. "We need to be very careful in how we move forward. There is bipartisan concern that some of these cuts would undermine the security of our country, and that's what I don't want to do, but at the same time, I think we need to look for ways to prevent spending hundreds of dollars on hammers."
The other part of the spending equation is the so-called Bush tax cuts, which will expire at the end of the year without action. Smith says it would be a big financial shock if they are not extended, sparking the largest tax increase in American history. He says we need to take a look at the "economic consequences" of such a move.
(Courtesy of The Nebraska Radio Network & WNAX. All Rights Reserved.)