Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle remain far apart in their attempt to reach deals with the next round of budget negotiations looming. One of the key issues is finding an alternative to the across the board cuts known as the sequester. Leaders in the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate have expressed optimism that they can reach a deal before the December 13 deadline.
In a recent interview with WCRS Greenwood, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said he would like to see a deal where budget cuts are made with “a scalpel, not a hatchet.”
“We should find a way to give more flexibility, so we cut smart and not just simply cut across the board. If we give that flexibility to the department heads and agency directors, I believe we will have a smart sequester that will keep our spending heading in the right direction which is down.”
An additional $19 billion in sequester cuts would kick in January 15 if the negotiators fail to reach an agreement
Looking ahead, Scott says he does not see Republicans and Democrats coming to an accord to strike a so-called “grand bargain” in the foreseeable future.
“We have shown the inability to get the big deal done, because the sides are so far apart. I do believe we will find some middle ground sometime in the future, but I don’t think we’re there yet. We are not experiencing enough discomfort to make long-term priorities and that is a part of our challenge.”
For now, Scott views the sequester as a necessary tool to curb government spending.
“We have to learn to live within our means and sequestration is one of the tools to get us there, but we can do it more effectively by giving directors of agencies the power of choice. They know their agencies really well. Make them pick and choose where to cut the spending.”
Anne Eller of WCRS Greenwood contributed to this report.