Skip to comments.Long-awaited WH report spells out deep sequestration cuts
Posted on 09/14/2012 11:02:44 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
WASHINGTON The White House for the first time offered a detailed look at billions in automatic budget cuts scheduled for January, warning in a report released Friday that alternatives must be found to prevent the crippling of thousands of military and nondefense programs.
For the Defense Department, the scenario would mean roughly a 10 percent cut in military spending, except for personnel accounts. The report doesn't detail exactly what those lost dollars would mean in terms of lost programs or purchases, but does give a top-line view of the size of the cuts.
Defense Health programs would lose about $3.3 billion in funding. Army purchases of combat vehicles, weapons and ammunition would be trimmed by $505 million. The Navy would lose almost $4.4 billion in ship and aircraft procurement money.
The four services operations and maintenance accounts would be reduced by more than $18 billion combined.
The automatic cuts, also known as sequestration, were enacted by Congress last summer as part of a larger deficit-reduction plan.
In total, the spending curbs would take away $54.6 billion in planned military spending, the first installment on a 10-year deficit-reduction plan to reduce defense funds by about $500 billion.
The White House called it a potential disaster.
The administration does not support the indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts in this report, one senior administration official said. We believe they should never be implemented.
When Congress adopted the Budget Control Act, it included the sequestration cuts more than $1 trillion in budget trims over the next decade, spread evenly between defense and nondefense accounts as a poison pill designed to force a bipartisan deficit-reduction panel to find alternatives.
But that attempt to force compromise failed. For the last nine months, lawmakers and Pentagon leaders have decried the looming defense cuts as dangerous and nonsensical, but Congress has not been able to agree on an alternative.
The 394-page report released Friday lists hundreds of exempt spending accounts across the government including all of the Department of Veterans Affairs but White House officials have insisted that the law limits how much they can mitigate the effects of the automatic budget reductions.
Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument, the report says. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction.
House Armed Services Committee officials criticized the report as lacking any real detail, failing to explain how individual programs and offices will be impacted.
They said the White House is dodging its responsibility to inform the public about how harmful the automatic cuts will be, and has failed to direct the Defense Department to properly prepare for a worst-case scenario.
On Thursday, House Republicans passed legislation calling for the president to replace the automatic defense cuts with nonmilitary trims. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., noted it was the fifth measure passed by the chamber this year aimed at preventing devastating cuts to national security programs.
It is my sincere hope that this most recent action by the House will compel the President to finally do his part to end the sequestration crisis and bring his party in the Senate to a conference committee, he said in a statement.
Like the previous House GOP proposals to avert sequestration, the measure is unlikely to gain traction in the Democratically controlled Senate. Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats have rejected proposals that would shift all of the automatic cuts onto domestic programs to save military accounts.
Meanwhile, defense contractors have begun warning employees that deep cuts to military funds in the middle of the fiscal year could jeopardize tens of thousands of jobs.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned that sequestration could result in massive layoffs among Defense Department civilian employees and lead to a new recession.
The exemption for military personnel accounts means that military paychecks wont be affected by sequestration. Officials said that the Department of Defense would also be able to shift funds to ensure that operations in Afghanistan and critical military readiness capabilities will not be hurt.
But the report states that sequestration would result in a reduction in readiness of many non-deployed units, delays in investments in new equipment and facilities, cutbacks in equipment repairs, declines in military research and development efforts, and reductions in base services for military families.
Beyond the military, the report says sequestration would lead to a 2 percent reduction in funding for Medicaid and other domestic health programs, and an 8 percent cut in nonexempt, nondefense programs.
White House officials also noted the report offers only preliminary estimates, since operating budgets for every department have not been finalized by Congress.
Congress isnt expected to act on any of those budgets or alternatives to sequestration until after the November elections.
Barry sure is making one hell of a mess for the next president to inherit.
This is going to affect Connecticut’s defense industry big time...
Saw on FNC Special report the cut for the first year would be $110B, half of that for Defense. So $55B cut out of a $1T defense budget, that's a 5% Cut. Is that slashing?
Obama got House Republicans to agree to completely exempting medicaid , entitlements and poverty programs from the cuts when THEY passed this bill.
If you read through all of the various reports...there could be in the range of 250k people in the DC area alone who would be made unemployed by sequestration. That includes both contractors and government workers (not just Pentagon folks, but all gov’t agencies). So you look at the DC region and wonder how 250k unemployed folks would take this situation.
There’s no fall-back position for the 250k in such a small area of the country. It would be one thing to determine a yearly cut of 12k employees over a decade, and an area could probably take that kind of news. In this case....I’d say a massive burden would fall upon DC, Virginia and Maryland. Bankers would get nervous over empty houses and bankruptcies.
This is a trap, and Republicans should set it off. Not that there is much hope, but if we ever are to cut spending and back away from the road to Greece we can’t be hypocrites on defense. I know, I know, entitlements are the problem and the military is at least in the Constitution. Defends is however just another part og Big Government, and there’s plenty to drop.
You can’t very well look the electoratein the eye and say “Washington is spending like a sailor on Democratic programs, yes, now let me talk about that airforce base I built!”
OBAMAS BUDGET 2011
When was the last time the Senate cast a unanimous vote on an issue of any substance? The only unamimous votes in the Senates 112th session have been to confirm judges or on honorary resolutions, and on a few amendments, and one bill to make it illegal to publish or copy images taken by the TSA from backscatter scanners. There has not been a single unanimous negative vote in the Senate this session until now. Yesterday, the Senate rejected by a 0-97 vote the budget proposed by Barack Obama:
The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject a $3.7 trillion budget plan that President Obama sent to Capitol Hill in February.
Ninety-seven senators voted against a motion to take it up.
Democratic aides said ahead of the vote that the Democratic caucus would not support the plan because it has been supplanted by the deficit-reduction plan Obama outlined at a speech at George Washington University in April.
HOUSE BUDGET 2011
Just one day after Congress concluded its fight over this years spending, the House voted 235 to 193 to approve the fiscal blueprint for 2012 drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the Budget Committee. Besides reconfiguring the Medicare program that now serves those 65 and older, the proposal would cut the top corporate and personal income tax rates while also overhauling the Medicaid health program for the poor.
SENATE BUDGET 2011
No budget voted on per Senate Leader Harry Reid (DEMOCRAT) NV
You sound like a Democrat. The unemployment argument is the GM bailout argument, and it’s barely distinguishable from the medicine or dog food/pushing granny off a cliff argument. We’ll never cut anything at this rate.
Tell them they’ll have to take it like like the rest of us and find a new job. In most of their cases, find a job that’s actually useful for a change.
Not just Electric Boat in CT but in Virginia's ship yards and here in Charleston SC where Force Protection is located. My Husband works for a company that is doing vehicle modifications for Army and Marine vehicles. The contract that he is working on runs out in Oct.
Everyone is scared because they see what's coming. Obama would rather let these cuts happen so that he can blame it on the Republicans and because he doesn't give a damn about the military in the first place.
I know some will disagree but EVERY department should have to face sharp cuts and if it means scaling back military purchases and maybe close a few bases, so be it. There are a bunch of domestic cuts I’d like to make too, including scrapping a few agencies altogether, but we can survive with a few less bombers and missiles.
Everyone in the federal government should be prepared for some deep belt-tightening and that has to include the military.
He’s telling it like it is, not to be mistaken for a Dem. There aren’t enough jobs to absorb this big of lay off if it is actually 250k in the DC/Virginia/Maryland area.
Once we look at these numbers as people, they have no where to go to support their families and keep their homes except on federal aid. A much bigger burden for the rest of us.
I can’t imagine the panic that this would cause my Husband and I if it weren’t for his military retirement as a fall back.
I do not object to base closings. I do not not object to cuts on unneeded military programs.
What I object to is the Senate not voting on a budget for the past few years.
I would love to see programs like converting aircraft and naval vessels to (green) fuels that cost 200% more than JP-8 and diesel cut out all together.
Is this another piece of legislation that we don’t know what is *in* it, until it is passed and we *see*? There will be furloughs and planes colliding over Bradley Airport before the dust settles...anyone’s guess is as good as the next.
Boner and McCornhole will cave as usual. The Gelding Old Party has no stones. Willard does a lot of talking but his actions will be the last chance for the GOP to exist after 2014. A true second party “Spring” is just around the corner. Invest in guillotines.
“The White House called it a potential disaster.”
In what way could it possibly be worse than the current disaster?
If the bloated federal bureaucracy were a business, it would have to balance the books. A new CEO would be brought in to set the strategy and focus priorities around the strategy. Spending on ACLU activities not supporting the strategy would be immediately cut. No program would be immune from scrutiny.
There would also be across the board spending and payroll cuts. Typically a new CEO of a turnaround company will within the first week cut headcount across the board by at least 10% knowing the remaining employees will take up the slack. It is amazing when there are fewer people how many nonproductive paper pushing activities naturally go away when there are fewer bodies to do the work.
Another benefit of across the board head count costs is the least productive people are normally the ones cut. A department manager, told to cut one employee will automatically send packing the employee who walks into the office late everyday, chit chats on personal phone calls throughout the day, and races out of the office at 5:00 pm while others are slaving away.
Over the past three decades private industry has gone through waves of downsizing to become more efficient. Given the federal bureaucracy has continued to grow through that time it is ripe for significant reduction. Likely a 15% across the board reduction of head count could be implemented without having any real impact on services. Combine with a 10% reduction in non interest on the debt spending, and you’ve closed about 1/3 of the annual deficit with minimal effort. Then begin cutting entire departments who no longer have any purpose or whose missions can be accomplished by state and local government. Education, Labor, Commerce, Agriculture, HUD, and much of Health and Human Services can be eliminated or transitioned to the states within a year.
With respect to Defense we have to decide what it’s real mission is. Over the past 50 years the military has been an imperialist force intervening around the globe in wars at the whim of the President. On the whole these wars were conducted at great expense with little positive impact on the safety of the average citizen. Plus our huge military has allowed Europe and Japan to transfer most of their defense costs to the US taxpayer. Meanwhile, we’ve failed to implement a missile defense shield to truly protect the homeland from nuclear missiles and we have failed to protect the borders allowing millions of foreigners to invade and settle the homeland. If we take a hard look at the mission of our military, agree to stop intervening in the affairs of nations around the globe, and focus on defending the homeland, we can realize significant savings in defense spending while actually making our borders and our citizens more secure.
Unfortunately our political leaders have no will to prioritize goals and cut spending to levels required to support the essential activities. It is easy to see how this will play out. If Obama is reelected, he will blame the Republicans for not working cooperatively with him. The automatic cuts and tax increases will be implemented in January. Obama will implement the spending cuts in a way that will be most visible and painful to the people. He will go on a relentless PR campaign blaming the Republicans in Congress. After a few months, the Republicans will compromise, restoring the spending while leaving in the tax increases? The tax increases will slow the economy causing the Federal Reserve to print more money and Obama to demand more spending. If the Republicans don’t pass the new spending they will be blamed for the bad economy. Ultimately we will have hyperinflation followed by a financial collapse.
Same if Romney is reelected. At this point it is unlikely the Republicans will capture the Senate. Even if they do Harry Reid can filibuster to obstruct Romney’s agenda particularly tax reform. The Republican leadership will be afraid to cut spending during a recession. The deficit will continue to spiral out of control resulting in economic collapse.
At this point it seems economic collapse is inevitable within the first two years of the new President’s term. Is it better to reelect Obama and let the collapse happen on his watch? Or is it better to elect a liberal Republican and let conservative Republicans be falsely blamed?
Blaming Republicans (or even Democrats) for the pending economic collapse is a matter of no importance at all.
The proper question is - who will be left to pick up the pieces, and how should they be put back together?
A Romney election will give us a little more time to prepare and fewer pieces to deal with.
An Obama election will immediately precipitate the disintegration of the country.
Rates of change are important. People can survive and recover from terrible shocks as long as they don't all come at once.
“Yesterday, the Senate rejected by a 0-97 vote the budget proposed by Barack Obama”
I’d love to know if any other POTUS has been so thoroughly humiliated in a bipartisan fashion. Romney should run an ad on this, as it speaks to Obama’s incompetence and Congress’s unanimous views about it!
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