Legislative Update - September 18, 2012

By: Brad Penney, Advocates for The Other America

The White House has released a report detailing the impact of the $109 billion in cuts that will be imposed by the sequester in January if Congress does not meet certain spending reduction targets (i.e. $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years). According to the report, the cuts would result in an 8.2% across the board spending cut in all non-exempt, non-defense discretionary spending. Both the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) fall into this nondefense discretionary spending category and would be cut from their current levels in the Continuing Resolution — $677.3 million and $68 million respectively.

There is a good chance Congress will undo the sequestration because of the concerns about the impact of the cuts on defense. As the sequester is written, defense cuts cannot be taken from personnel or military bases, leaving the cuts to fall disproportionally on the discretionary portion of the defense budget. If the automatic sequestration is undone, Congress must adopt another plan that cuts $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years, so this is far from settled.