Reid introduced S. 788, a bill to replace the $85 billion automatic spending cuts known as the sequester with OCO funds the Pentagon has said it has saved from drawing down the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Obama has proposed that the sequester be stopped by closing tax loopholes and increasing revenue.
“Whether OCO is the mother of all gimmicks, or just a glaring one — everybody other than the majority leader evidently agrees on one thing: it’s the height of fiscal irresponsibility,” McConnell said. "It represents a significant break from the President’s favored approach on this issue."
Lawmakers have become more vocal in their complaints about the automatic spending cuts since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has started furloughing thousands of employees, causing flight delays across the country.
Reid defended his bill as a solution, pointing out that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has used OCO funds to balance the budget.
“What my friend is saying is, it’s okay to borrow money for the war in Afghanistan, but not to borrow that same money to stop the pain Americans are experiencing all over America today,” Reid said. “It would be so easy to turn the sequester around and allow us to do something for the long term, but no the Republicans like the pain.”
Reid’s plan would have turned off the sequester cuts for the remaining five months in the fiscal year, giving lawmakers more time to come up with a long-term solution.