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White House Signals Start of Sequestration

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  • March 3, 2013
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President Obama signed an order Friday night to carry out the $85 billion sequester of fiscal 2013 spending, making official the across-the-board spending cuts that are widely projected to undercut military readiness.

Along with the order, the Office of Management and Budget submitted a report to Congress detailing the cuts for each agency. Over the course of the entire fiscal year, the sequester requires a 7.8 percent reduction in discretionary defense spending, or $43 billion. The 83-page report goes through the Pentagon budget — as well as that for the rest of the federal government — applying the 7.8 percent cut to each account and revealing the new dollar amount remaining, reported the Hill.

Because the cuts are being implemented over the last seven months of FY 2013, DOD spending effectively will absorb a 13 percent cut, OMB said.

The cuts represent the first tranche of a total of almost $1 trillion in automatic spending reductions required through FY 2021, half of which would hit the defense budget. Beginning next year, defense spending would be slashed by about $55 billion annually, though the cuts would be achieved by lower discretionary spending caps rather than by applying a uniform slice across the department’s entire budget.

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