US judge rules to prevent sequester
A US judge has ruled that the sequester is unconstitutional and that Congress has the authority to fund the federal government through the end of March.
The decision comes after President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding for Medicare and Social Security if Congress fails to pass a budget.
The sequester will have a major impact on Medicare and other health-care programs that serve seniors and the disabled.
Trump announced the cut to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in June.
The cuts will take effect Jan. 1.
Judge James Robart ruled Friday that the cuts are unconstitutional and have no effect on federal budgeting or programs that provide health-insurance coverage to millions of Americans.
Trump also threatened to shut down the government over the cuts, but the White House said he has no plans to do that.
Robart said in his opinion that the Constitution gives Congress the power to enact legislation that will provide funds for the “promises of the Constitution.”
The sequesters spending caps were announced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
He and other Republicans argued that the federal budget deficit is unsustainable because of the sequesters cuts.
But Democrats countered that the government will not be able to make payments to retirees until it can meet the spending caps, which they argue are unfair.
Trump has previously threatened to close the government.
The White House has defended the sequesters cuts, saying the sequests are a way for Congress to fund its spending needs.
It also said the sequeres caps are a fair way to ensure that the economy and people’s jobs are not at risk in the event of a shutdown.
The Associated Press’ Nancy Hensley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.