Boehner: Obama may miss sequester deadline

Sept. 7, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama would likely miss Friday's deadline on how he'll stop scheduled budget cuts from hurting U.S. defense.

"Tomorrow (September 7) is the deadline, which has us wondering ... will President Obama comply with the Sequestration Transparency Act he signed into law?" the office of the Ohio Republican said in an e-mail blast and blog Thursday.

"The administration has repeatedly ignored requests from Congress for 'sequester' information, even as top officials admit the defense cuts the White House demanded -- in an effort to ensure the president wouldn't face another debt-limit vote before the election -- would jeopardize our national security," the e-mail and blog said.

The "sequestrations," or across-the-board budget cuts, are part of a deal worked out to end last year's U.S. debt-ceiling crisis. A congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the "supercommittee," was required to identify about $1.2 trillion in cuts to reduce the federal deficit. If it failed, then Congress could increase the debt ceiling another $1.2 trillion -- but that would trigger the sequestrations.

Roughly half the automatic cuts set to take effect Jan. 2, 2013, are to come from defense spending, while the other half would come from non-defense spending.

The cuts amount to about $984 billion -- the difference between $1.2 trillion and the deficit-reduction amount the supercommittee enacted -- so planned defense cuts amount to about $492 billion.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in October 2011 the automatic defense-budget cuts projected as $600 billion at the time would "truly devastate our national defense."

The Office of Management and Budget report on what the Obama administration would cut would for the first time the White House would detail where the sequestered cuts would come from in the fiscal 2013 budget. Congress does not stop the budget cuts.

GOP aides told The Hill they expected the office would delay the report to separate it from Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night.

Obama was to campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa Friday.

DoD Buzz, an online news Web site, cited Capitol Hill sources Thursday as expecting the report would be delayed a couple weeks.

Republicans argue Obama has failed to find a way of cutting the budget without hurting the military. Obama has countered it's the GOP that is the obstacle by refusing to agree to tax increases in a deficit deal, The Hill said.

The Republican-controlled House has passed a sequester-replacement package that includes major entitlement cuts that Democrats have rejected. Democrats are demanding shallower cuts and tax increases.

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