A bill authored by 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, that would require transparency from the Obama Administration on its plan for implementing nearly $1 trillion in required sequestration cuts was signed into law by the president today, August 7, 2012. The Sequestration Transparency Act (H.R.5872), the counterpart bill to the legislation originally introduced by Senators Thune and Sessions, requires 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 30-day window for the Office of Management and Budget to produce the report closes on September 6, 2012.
“After both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly called on the president to provide more transparency on his plan to implement sequestration, the Obama Administration has finally agreed to make their plan public,” said Thune. “The unbalanced defense cuts threaten our nation’s ability to defend itself and the president and Congress must find a smarter, more deliberate way to attain the nearly $500 billion in required defense savings. I look forward to reviewing the Administration’s report and call on the president to work with Congress to ensure America’s military readiness is not compromised by these draconian cuts.”
“Although OMB resisted our attempts to get this information, I’m glad the Administration has realized its obligation to lay out for Congress and the American people just how the sequester would be implemented,” said Sessions. “If these cuts are not reorganized, defense spending—which represents just one-sixth of the federal budget—will have to absorb half of the planned cuts. This is in addition to the nearly $500 billion in 10-year cuts that are already in place. More than just being disproportionate, such deep cuts would, in the words of the Secretary of Defense, ‘do catastrophic damage to the military.’ I look forward to receiving OMB’s report and working with my colleagues without delay to make sure that does not happen.”
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. 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.The Sequestration Transparency Act overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives on July 19, 2012, by a vote of 414 to 2, and passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on July 25, 2012.