(Center for American Progress) -- With the government shutdown and the threat of a catastrophic debt default now blessedly behind us, Congress can turn its attention to the real and most pressing fiscal challenge our country faces: ending austerity.
Over the past three years, several rounds of drastic, ill-timed, and ill-designed spending cuts have dragged down the recovery, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars in lost economic activity and millions of jobs. Unfortunately, another round of spending cuts is already happening. The automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration are still in place for this fiscal year, despite the Congressional Budget Office’s warning that keeping these cuts will cost us 800,000 jobs. Job number one, now that the government is reopened and the debt limit is raised, is to replace those mindless and damaging cuts with smarter, longer-term deficit reduction and implement some much-needed immediate investments in economic growth today.