President Obama plans to exempt military personnel from next year’s sequester cuts, as he did this year, reports CQ.
The decision is significant as it means about $154 billion in spending on military personnel would be shielded from sequester cuts in fiscal 2014. The remainder of the Pentagon’s budget then would bear the brunt of an estimated $52 billion in automatic cuts next year. Total pre-sequestration spending for the department — including base and overseas accounts — is expected to be about $600 billion in FY 2014.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier recommended Obama exempt military personnel funds from the automatic cuts. The White House is expected to notify Congress of the decision shortly.
Separately, bipartisan legislation is coming together in the Senate to shield military technicians from civilian furloughs resulting from sequestration. Full-time members of the Army and Air National Guard who work as military technicians have dual status as members of the military and as civilian employees, subjecting them to sequester cuts.
Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are trying to build support for a measure, S. 1438, to exempt tens of thousands of military technicians from the automatic spending cuts. With the prospects for Congress to replace sequestration with alternative deficit reduction legislation considered dim, a variety of proposals to shield specific programs from the cuts are expected to pop up in the coming weeks.
The White House and Senate Democrats generally oppose such measures, saying they could ease the pressure to pass a larger deal to avert all of the spending reductions, reported CQ.