White House details the reach of automatic spending cuts

Published on September 15, 2012 at 4:47 AM · No Comments

In a report issued today, the Obama administration outlined the budget accounts which would be touched by sequestration's automatic spending reductions. Although Medicare benefits are exempt, a 2 percent cut would be imposed on Medicare provider payments. 

Kaiser Health News: Automatic Budget Cuts Will Reduce Medicare Payments To Providers By $11 Billion
Medicare providers would see reductions of about $11 billion beginning in January as part of series of automatic spending cuts set to begin next year unless Congress acts to halt them, according to estimates released Friday by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The numbers came in a report that details how federal agencies would implement mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts of roughly $120 billion agreed to by Congress and President Barack Obama last August as a way to end a bitterly partisan dispute over the budget. Lawmakers in both chambers, as well as Obama, want to avoid the process, known as sequestration (Carey, 9/14).

USA Today: Obama Report: Sequestration Would Cut Defense, Social Programs
Automatic budget cuts -- sequestration -- would slash essential defense and social programs, and must be avoided, says a new White House report. The cuts that would kick in Congress does not reach a debt reduction agreement, include a 9.4% percent reduction in non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent reduction in non-exempt non-defense discretionary funding. The sequestration would also impose cuts of 2.0 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs, and 10.0 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs (Jackson, 9/14).

Politico: White House: Sequester 'Deeply Destructive' To Defense
The report confirms in painstaking detail which budget accounts are subject to cuts -; down to the congressional gift shop -; and which are exempt. And it is likely to add new urgency to efforts to stop the cuts from taking effect. "No amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction," the Office of Management and Budget wrote. "The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions" (Wright and Allen, 9/14). 

The Washington Post: White House: Dire Cuts For Military If Congress Fails To Avoid Fiscal Cliff
The report tracks the level of cuts for 1,200 separate budget line items, taking account of rules Congress agreed to last summer that shield certain budget priorities, including food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Salaries for military personnel are also exempt, as are Medicare benefits, though Medicare providers would take a 2 percent hit (Helderman, 9/14). 

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