The Senate last night passed by unanimous consent H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act, which the House of Representatives passed last week by a vote of 414-2. This bill was originally introduced by Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The legislation would require the Obama administration, within 30 days of the bill’s enactment, to provide taxpayers and Congress with its plan for implementing the required sequestration cuts for defense and non-defense programs that are scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013. With overwhelming support in the House and Senate, the bill will now be sent to the president for his approval.
“Americans deserve transparency on the looming sequester,” said Thune. “I commend my Senate colleagues for taking action to ensure that taxpayers and Congress know the administration’s plan to implement sequestration. Congress has made a clear and united call for more transparency, and I hope President Obama will sign this bill into law expediently. It is time for President Obama to level with taxpayers about the full impact of the scheduled cuts to our national defense, and join with Congress in finding alternative savings that do not jeopardize our national security.”
“If the sequester is not re-organized, defense spending—which makes up just one-sixth of the federal budget—will have to absorb half of the planned cuts, on top of the $487 billion in defense cuts already in place over the next decade,” said Sessions. “Meanwhile, some of the largest non-defense expenditures are totally exempt from any cuts whatsoever. I’m glad that Congress has been nearly unanimous in its recognition that the Obama Administration needs to reveal how it would move forward with such enormous defense cuts, which the President’s own Defense Secretary said would be ‘disastrous for our national defense.’”
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 to 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 report required by the Sequestration Transparency Act would assist Congress in assessing the long-term effect these cuts will have on our national defense, and aid in its year-end legislative business, including fiscal year 2013 appropriations.