U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, joined with Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) in releasing a letter today sent to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). In their letter, the Senators urge Conrad to promptly schedule a committee meeting to consider the Thune-Sessions Sequestration Transparency Act, a bill to “require the administration to submit to Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act.” Thus far, the Obama administration has been unwilling to account for how the cuts required by the Budget Control Act would affect different federal agencies, making it more difficult for Congress to complete its work on Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bills and address the pending fiscal cliff.
Text of the Senators’ letter follows:
Dear Chairman Conrad:
We are writing to request that the Committee on the Budget meet in the next two weeks to consider legislation that has been referred to it.
S. 3228, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, would require the administration to submit to Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act (BCA). The report would include an estimate, on a program and project level, of the sequestration percentages and amounts that would be necessary to achieve the almost $110 billion in spending reductions for fiscal year 2013 mandated by the BCA. The report would also be required to include any other data and explanations that enhance public understanding of the sequester and actions to be taken under it.
This report will assist Congress in its year-end legislative business, and its receipt by the Congress next month would be particularly timely. The Defense Secretary recently warned in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that layoff notices for military and civilian employees would go out this Fall if Congress fails to stop budget cuts to the Pentagon set to take effect on January 2, 2013 under the BCA. Having information about how the sequester would be implemented, and the specific items of spending that would be reduced, is critical to Congress in evaluating the impact of the sequester.
Congress has tried repeatedly to obtain this information from the Office on Management and Budget, and it has not been provided. As a result, this legislation is needed for Congress to do its job with full information.
Favorable action by the Senate Budget Committee in the coming weeks would give the legislation a reasonable chance of clearing Congress before the Fourth of July holiday. Identical legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 5872), and currently has 51 cosponsors.
Accordingly, we encourage you to schedule a mark-up on S. 3228 so that Congress can receive hard data to use in determining how to appropriately deal with the impending sequester as soon as possible.
Very truly yours,