Take a look at the history of sequestration from its first use in the 1980s to today’s cuts.
In 1990, the Budget Enforcement Act, which was part of a larger spending bill, created a new set of rules. This set up the pay-as-you-go system, or PAYGO. Under this system, any increased entitlement spending -- for instance, an increase in Medicare benefits -- would need to be paid for by equal cuts in another area or tax increases. The same was true of any tax cuts. For other parts of the budget, yearly spending targets were set.
National Archives and Records Administration
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