Will Obama Specify Sequester Cuts In His 2013 Budget?

Here’s the question I’ve been asked most often over the past week: Will the White House include in it’s fiscal 2013 budget — the one it will send to Congress in February — the cuts it will make in military and domestic spending under the assumption the sequester will go into effect on January 2, 2013 as it’s currently scheduled to do?

There’s no way to know for sure, but my strong suspicion is that the White House will do no such thing.

The president’s 2013 budget will include a plan that the White House will say, if it’s enacted, will eliminate the need for the sequester. The February budget won’t specify what will be cut if the sequester occurs except in the most macro terms.

The reason is that going into the election the White House will want to keep the focus on how the the president prefers to reduce the deficit rather than on how he will implement the changes imposed on him by the sequester if he’s reelected (Remember: the sequester will happen two months after the election). That prevents those possible cuts from becoming an election issue.

In addition, there’s really no reason for him to specify what he would cut and by how much a year before those cuts would go into effect. This is especially the case because it’s likely that the sequester will never happen and specifying preferred spending cuts when you don’t have to is almost the definition of political suicide.

And in case you’re wondering…The Budget Control Act that set up the process that led to the anything-but-super committee’s failure and the sequester does not require that the spending reductions be included in the president’s budget.

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About Stan Collender 126 Articles

Affiliation: Qorvis Communications

Stan Collender is a former New Yorker who, after getting a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, moved to Washington to get it out of his system. That was more than 30 years ago.

During most of his career, Collender has worked on the federal budget and congressional budget process, including stints on the staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees; founding the Federal Budget Report, a newsletter that was published for almost two decades; and for the past 11 years writing a weekly column for NationalJournal.com and now RollCall.com.

He is currently a managing director for Qorvis Communications, where he spends most of his time working with and for financial services clients.

Visit: Capital Gains and Games

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