Sequester Still Appears Stalled
The Obama administration has released a report outlining the damaging effects a scheduled cut in spending that was part of the debt ceiling deal Congress struck with Obama back in 2011 and just like a year ago, the debate over the cuts appears to be stalled on Capitol Hill. Washington Bureau Reporter Erin Billups filed the following report for NY1.
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After weeks of calling on the President to release a plan, the president's Office Of Management and Budget finally released a report Friday detailing the impact of the automatic spending cut of $109 billion, known as the sequester, set to take place on Jan. 2.
The administration says "no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts" and calls the sequestration a "blunt and indiscriminate instrument."
"It would be bad news in policy terms but it wouldn't be the end of the world for most programs," said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert with the Brookings Institution. "There are some parts of the government that would get hit much harder. Civilian employees might have to get furloughed, for example."
The Department of Defense will see a cut of more than $54 billion. So will domestic programs like the FBI and Border Patrol, correctional officers, air traffic control, education grants and the Department of Agriculture's food inspection programs.
OMB suggests Congress work together and reach an agreement on a more balanced approach. So far, there's been no consensus on the Hill, just opposing plans and finger-pointing.
"The Senate has done nothing," said Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan on Aug. 23. "The president has proposed no solution to this."
"The Republican plan does not stop the sequester, is not fair and balanced demands no new revenues, does not ask for one red cent from the wealthiest people in America," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sept. 13.
Lawmakers will leave Capitol Hill at the end of this week and likely won't return until after the election, which is when they hope to deal with the looming sequester problem.
"The presumed working assumption there is the loser will be willing to put his or her political tail between his or her legs and basically accept the winner's rules," O'Hanlon said. "But I haven't seen that too often in American politics in recent elections.”