U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the late release of an Obama administration report detailing its plans for implementing sequestration that will take effect on January 2, 2013. This sequestration report from the president was due on September 6th and was required as a result of the Sequestration Transparency Act legislation that Thune and Sessions spearheaded.
“Both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly passed our Sequestration Transparency Act to provide the American people with more transparency on the looming sequester," said Thune. "The report released today by the administration does not meet the requirement of the law to provide a report ‘at the program, project, and activity level,’ yet reveals the alarming impacts sequestration will have on our nation's ability to protect itself. The sequester remains a serious threat not only to our nation’s security needs, but also to our economy. The report confirms Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's statement that sequestration will ‘do catastrophic damage to the military.’ Just last month, the Congressional Budget Office stated that unemployment will rise above 9 percent next year and economic growth will slow significantly if we go over the Fiscal Cliff. The House of Representatives has acted to prevent these disproportionate cuts by finding savings elsewhere. It is time for the president and Senate Democrats to step up to the plate and work with Congressional Republicans to ensure America’s military is not compromised by these draconian cuts.”
“This report confirms the enormously disproportionate nature of the cuts in the Budget Control Act,” said Sessions. “Next year, defense spending overall will experience a net decline while cumulative non-defense spending—the other five-sixths of the budget—will actually increase. As we were warned by the Secretary of Defense, crucial areas of the defense budget will experience particularly deep reductions. In contrast, domestic programs that have seen explosive growth over the last decade—such as the four-fold increase in food stamps—will experience zero reductions under sequestration. But the White House seems perfectly happy with inaction, as evidenced by the incompleteness of this report. It is time for the President and Senate Democrats – who have not passed a budget in 1,234 days – to follow the example of the House and present a plan to remedy these unbalanced and dangerous defense cuts.”
Thune and Sessions first introduced the Sequestration Transparency Act in the Senate on May 23, 2012, and Republican Conference Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced a companion bill in the House on May 31, 2012. The bill, enacted on August 7, 2012, required the Obama administration to provide taxpayers and Congress, within 30 days of enactment, with its plan for implementing the required sequestration cuts for defense and non-defense programs that are scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013.The Budget Control Act (BCA), enacted in August of 2011, requires across-the-board spending reductions of $984 billion to be distributed evenly over nine years, or $109.3 billion per year, due to the failure of the Supercommittee process last year. Under sequestration, each year $54.7 billion in reductions will be necessary for both defense and non-defense categories. The defense sequester cuts are in addition to $487 billion in defense cuts over 10 years that were put in place last year after the BCA took effect.