Congress asked for a detailed accounting of automatic and painful cuts.
Updated: September 14, 2012 - 8:49 PM
WASHINGTON - Army operations and maintenance would lose nearly $7 billion next year, and the Navy more than $4 billion under a looming series of automatic cuts in federal spending. Educational achievement and special education programs would be shaved by $2.3 billion. Hospital insurance would fall $5.6 billion.
And, particularly relevant at a moment that world attention is focused on the continuing attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, diplomatic programs and embassy security would lose $1.2 billion.
These are part of the findings by the White House in a 394-page report that was delivered Friday to Congress, detailing line by line what will happen next year if Washington fails to act to head off about $100 billion automatic defense and domestic spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2.
The Obama administration had been reluctant to show its hand on the true impact of so-called sequestration, but once forced to do so by Congress, the White House budget office did not scrimp on the details.
"As the administration has made clear, no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction," the report concludes.
The Budget Control Act of July 2011 established automatic cuts as the bludgeon that was supposed to force a bipartisan committee to come to an agreement on deficit reduction of at least $1 trillion over the next decade. The committee failed, with Republicans refusing to meet Democrats' demands to raise taxes in exchange for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Lawmakers are still hopeful that Congress and the White House can come up with a way to avoid the cuts, but no action will come before the November elections.
For now, the two parties remain at odds, with each trying to blame the other for the automatic cuts about to come.
Under the terms of those cuts, most defense programs face a 9.4 percent cut, while most domestic programs would be sliced by 8.2 percent. Medicare would be trimmed by 2 percent, while other entitlements -- not counting Social Security -- would be sliced as much as 10 percent.
Congressional Republicans initially sought a detailed accounting of planned defense cuts, which the White House had resisted. Then Democrats joined in, pushing to see the impact on domestic programs as well, and Congress ultimately passed legislation almost unanimously demanding a written report.
As late as Friday, congressional aides were skeptical that the White House would produce the details. But the White House did, down to the $4 million the Library of Congress stands to lose for its books for the blind and handicapped.
© 2013 Star Tribune
Powered by Limelight Networks