Sequestration Would Curtail Government Spending
Under sequestration, approximately $110 billion will be automatically cut from defense and non-defense programs in 2013. These cuts will continue through 2021. Federal agencies are beginning to report on the devastating impacts sequestration will have on crucial federal programs. On September 14, the Office of Management and Budget released a nearly 400-page report detailing budget cuts to over 1,200 budget accounts. The amounts range from a 2% reduction in Medicare to a 10% reduction in non-exempt defense mandatory programs.
For example, the Department of Education has issued a statement that four of the largest elementary and secondary education programs would get an across the board 8.4% cut beginning in 2013. These programs include Title I funding for low income school districts, funding for students with disabilities, Title II funding for teacher preparation and career and technical education.
Severe cuts will also be made in job training and work relocation services, child care subsidies, preventive health services and many, many more. The impact of across the board cuts would also severely impact the Department of Defense, which will face the deepest cuts – an estimated $55 billion in 2013. Published reports have indicated that over a million defense jobs could be lost the automatic across board cuts go forward.
There have been a number of calls for short term fixes to sequestration. However, measures exempting specific departments or delaying sequestration for one year have not been welcomed by many in Congress that argue that the threat of sequestration in 2013 is the only way to get Members to agree to a bigger deficit reduction package during the lame duck session. Many Members want to pursue a larger deficit reduction package that includes revenue raisers and mandatory spending cuts. Congress must wrestle with all of these issues during the lame duck session following the elections.