Monday, September 17, 2012

White House outlines impact of sequestration

The Office of Management and Budget calculates that sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent cut to non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent cut to non-exempt, non-defense discretionary funding.
It would also impose cuts of 2 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs, and 10 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs, says OMB.
The White House released Sept. 14 a report (.pdf) to Congress outlining the impact of sequestration, the across-the-board discretionary spending cuts on the federal government due to be implemented on Jan. 2, 2013 as required by the Budget Control Act.
Sequestration is a "blunt and indiscriminate instrument" that was intended to push partisans in Congress to a compromise and "was never intended to be implemented," he added.

The 394-page report provides line-by-line detail on more than 1,200 accounts--stating which accounts would be exempt and how much each non-exempt account would be cut by a percentage and dollar amount.
The report is based on fiscal 2012 budget numbers and not on the budget levels proposed in the most recent House Appropriations continuing resolution. If the sequester were to be implemented, it would apply the percentages from the report to the levels outlined in the CR, should the resolution pass, said a senior administration official.

"If sequestration were to occur the actual result, the percentages would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary and technical analysis. And OMB, as necessary, will continue to work through those issues," added the official.

One official said the administration "has no discretion in deciding the cuts identified in this report." In April the administration announced that, according to its interpretation of the law, the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments would be exempt from sequester.

The report comes one week after the Sept. 6 deadline set out in the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 [P.L. 112-155 (.pdf)], which President Obama signed Aug. 7. During a Sept. 7 press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the report would be late due to "the time needed to address the complex issues involved in preparing the report," adding that sequester would have "devastating consequences."
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