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Former Oklahoma lawmaker: Balance needed in Washington to avoid harmful budget cuts

BY LAURA W. BOYD Published: October 6, 2012

In addition to cuts to the military, the sequester's cuts will impact core government functions that support economic growth, strengthen safety and security, and enrich the lives of every American in every state and community across the nation. These core functions — referred to in Washington as nondefense discretionary, or “NDD” programs — include medical and scientific research, education and job training, transportation and infrastructure, public safety and law enforcement, public health, housing, and weather monitoring and environmental protection, among others.

Together, these programs represent the second-smallest share of the federal budget. They are not the drivers of the debt. And yet they are always the most vulnerable to cuts, and have already been slashed in the name of deficit reduction.

Lawmakers from both political parties and a bevy of independent experts, including the Congressional Budget Office, agree that sequestration's indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts will have a devastating impact on our lagging economy. Congress and the president must work together to achieve a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Only through balance can we avoid sequestration and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.

Boyd, of Norman, is a former Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.