White House details the reach of automatic spending cuts

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). 

The Washington Times: White House Details 'Destructive' Spending Cuts 
With excruciating detail, the White House on Friday laid out exactly where it will have to cut $109 billion from federal spending in January, including $11.1 billion from Medicare and $54.7 billion from defense spending. ... Also facing slashes are the National Institutes of Health, which would see a $2.5 billion cut, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which would have to trim $464 million, according to the 394-page report. ... The cuts are due under the terms of last year's debt deal. ... Last year's deficit super committee was supposed to come up with replacements for the sequesters, but the bipartisan committee failed, leaving the automatic cuts in place. They take effect Jan. 2 (Dinan, 9/14).

Marketwatch: Budget Sequester Would Be Devastating: White House
Automatic spending cuts set to begin in January would have a "devastating" effect on both defense and domestic programs, the White House's Office of Management and Budget said in a report on Friday (Schroeder, 9/14). 

Bloomberg: Obama Sequestration Report Warns Of 'Devastating Impact' Of Cuts
The Obama administration, in a politically charged report released less than two months before the election, said the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts required under a deficit-reduction law would have a "devastating impact" on defense and other government programs (Runningen, 9/14).

National Journal: Sequester Benefits Neither Party, Congressional Insiders Say
Congress is not expected to make any serious maneuvers to offset looming cuts to the defense sector before the fall elections, making the issue a political football heading into November. So which party has the political advantage? Neither, according to the muddled results from National Journal's latest Congressional Insiders poll (Goldmacher and Bell, 9/14). 

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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