And the bite on non-discretionary spending could be even bigger in 2014. Also, the urgency surrounding a budget deal may have faded.
The New York Times: Research Forgotten By Budget Cuts
Many Republicans, and Democrats, never thought the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration would take effect. with After all, they might produce dangerous, if unintended, consequences like potentially bankrupting the U.S. health care system, … Because the cuts only affect the margins of a wide array of defense and domestic discretionary programs, there mostly hasn’t been an immediate pinch; the public backlash has been minimal. But the long-term consequences, in more than a few cases, are ominous. There is no better case study than Alzheimer’s disease. With the enforced cuts at the National Institutes of Health, research to find a cure or better treatment is slowing (Hunt, 6/9).
CNN Money: Spending Cuts Likely Deeper In 2014
There's been a lot of concern about the effects of the spending cuts under the so-called sequester this year. But it's likely that federal spending will soon go down even further in many ways. That's because, barring action by lawmakers, the cap on total defense and domestic "discretionary" spending is set $19 billion lower for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1. … Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps and several other mandatory programs will be exempt. But others are not -- including federal extensions of unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program for women and children (Sahadi, 6/10).
The Washington Post: Urgency On Debt Fades With Big Issues Unsolved
But nearly half the improvement forecast for the coming decade is due to factors unrelated to the budget battles, including lower-than-expected health-care costs and a recovering economy, according to a Washington Post analysis of congressional budget data. The brighter budgetary outlook is recasting the political debate. ... Lawmakers, meanwhile, have done nothing to improve the finances of Social Security and Medicare, programs that already account for more than a third of federal spending (Montgomery, 6/7).