Pentagon Still Not Planning for Sequestration, Panetta Says
With the start of sequestration a little more than two months away, budget officials have not yet begun planning how the Defense Department would eliminate $52 billion in fiscal 2013 spending, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during a Pentagon news conference Thursday.
“We have not received that word from, from OMB,” Panetta said. “The hope is that sequester won’t happen,” he added.
The secretary’s response was not surprising. Even as the Jan. 2 start date for imposing the automatic spending reductions draws near, defense officials have insisted they would not plan how to implement them as long as there is an opportunity for Congress to undo the cuts. At the beginning of the news conference, Panetta urged lawmakers to reverse the spending cuts when they return to Capitol Hill next month.
“There are only 70 days until that happens, and Congress is certainly on the clock when it comes to that potential sequestration occurring,” he said.