Lessening the Blow of Sequestration

Published: May 08, 2013


OMB may have found a way to bring $5 billion of the $85 billion sequestration price tag, back into play. The recalculations would free up $4 billion from the Pentagon and $1 billion from other agencies such as NASA and DHS.

When Congress moved money around among various accounts in the Continuing Resolution which took effect in March, it restored $5 billion of the sequestration cuts due to accounting rules that govern the different accounts.  According to a quote from a government official in a recent Government Executive article, “Under the law, if [lawmakers] cut those accounts below their post –sequester level, there is a provision that credits back some of the funds.”  A 1985 budget law prescribes that funds be restored to accounts that had been deeply cut via sequestration.

Much of the specific calculations and data behind the restoration of funds is still hush hush.  According to Associated Press article that broke the story, the process is ongoing and public officials they contacted spoke under the guise of anonymity. 

Although much of the dire consequences of sequestration are yet to be felt by most American citizens, public pressure is mounting to decrease the impact of sequestration cuts.   Agency budget officials have been working with Congress to permit the transfer of funds between accounts to lessen the blow of the cuts.  Some agencies have been able to avoid or shorten furloughs due to this process, such as Department of State, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security.  Department of Defense will benefit the most from the new calculations by being able to avoid $4 billion cuts.