Today, the House Budget Committee mark up Republican leaders’ legislation, similar to bipartisan language added last week to the Senate farm bill that seeks more information about the automatic budget cuts. The action comes after several attempts by lawmakers to get more details from the administration about how the roughly $109 billion sequester will take effect in January. The House bill (HR 5872) and its Senate companion measure (S 3228), introduced by Republican leaders in both chambers in May, would require the president to submit a detailed report on sequestration, identifying each account that would be affected and the amount by which it would be reduced. As introduced, the report would be due on July 9th, which is several weeks earlier than deadlines set by the Senate in the farm bill. Moreover, the Senate proposal is far more detailed, requiring a report from the president that would include a list of accounts that would be affected, an analysis of the impact of the cuts to key areas of government as well as the private sector within 60 days, and a Pentagon review by August 15th on the impacts of the cuts to national defense.
As you will recall, the across-the-board cuts, or sequester, was a consequence of the failed Joint Deficit Reduction Committee that was laid out in the Budget Control Act last August. To date, there has been very little information released by the administration on how the sequester will be implemented.