Sequestration

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The National Association of Uniformed Services (NAUS) continues to be seriously concerned at the lack of action on the sequestration cuts set to begin in January 2013. They are bothered that the Senate seems to not have a sense of urgency that many in and out of DoD are stressing. Secretary of Defense Panetta has said numerous times that sequestration would be a disaster for DoD, calling it “a doomsday button.” The House passed the Sequester Replacement bill (H.R.5652) in early May. But the Senate has not taken a specific action. The House passed bill may not be perfect, but it is a start. It lays down a marker and begins the process of averting a major national security catastrophe. The Senate needs to start as well before the sequester goes into effect, Jan. 2, 2013.
A sequester is a mandated automatic cut. Under this specific sequester, the Budget Control Act (BCA), Public Law 112-125, directs that $1.2 Trillion will be reduced over the next nine consecutive fiscal years, beginning in calendar year 2013. The currently faced sequester comes into effect because the original BCA called for a bipartisan congressional committee, called a “Super Committee,” to find an agreement to achieve the $1.2 Trillion of required savings. The Super Committee failed. Therefore, an automatic sequester, designed as a backstop, is now in place. Under the sequester, $984 billion will come from split evenly between defense and non-defense spending cuts divided evenly among the nine relevant years. (It is assumed that the remaining reduction, $216 billion, would come from reduced debt service due to less borrowing.)
Unless an agreement can be found before January, defense will face a reduction of $492 billion over the decade, over and above the $485 billion defense reduction contained in the fiscal year 2013 budget, resulting in an approximate $1 Trillion cut in defense over the next decade. Nearly all spending that is characterized as defense in the budget is annually appropriated (discretionary). Therefore, essentially the entire $55 billion annual defense reduction will be achieved through defense discretionary spending reductions. In a letter to Speaker John Boehner prior to passage of H.R.5652, the Sequester Replacement Act NAUS President Klimp said, “Sequestration is a terribly blunt instrument that must be avoided. There is no credible voice in American politics that suggests the impact of the maximum sequester would be anything other than devastating. It presents a ‘no-kidding disaster.” NAUS will continue to press the Senate into action that averts a pending “no-kidding” disaster. [Source: NAUS Weekly Update 8 Jun 2012 ++]

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