Congress Trying to Get a Feel for the Impact of Sequestration
The Senate will require the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon to detail how agencies would implement automatic budget cuts in January. The request was actually included as an amendment to the farm bill. The goal is to find out from federal agencies just how damaging the automatic cut will be to the military and key domestic programs. Last summer - Congress agreed the budget would automatically be cut by 1.2-trillion dollars over 10 years if a special supercommittee was unable to find the same level of deficit reduction in a more targeted manner.
Republicans are concerned with the potential harm to national security. Senator John McCain has promised to amend every bill that the Senate approves in coming weeks with language requiring the Pentagon to detail impacts of the defense cuts. He says the American people need to know the effects of sequestration.
Democrats have insisted the only way they will agree to put the automatic cuts aside is if Republicans agree to a deal to deficit reduction bill that would both raise tax revenues and cut spending. Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray - who chaired the supercommittee - said last week that she is still hopeful a balanced and bipartisan deal can be achieved to replace the automatic cuts responsibly and fairly. But as that goal is pursued - Murray says it's important to know exactly how the Administration would enact sequestration if a deal isn't reached.
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