The Sequester & What the CR Means

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

100305-N-2953W-047The shutdown is averted, but the sequester lingers.

To prevent a government shutdown, the Congress turned to a “continuing resolution,” or CR, a commonly employed stopgap budget measure that keeps the government operating at existing funding levels when Congress fails to agree on a budget plan.

Lacking a real budget, the government would have run out of money a week ago. But while the CR staved off a possible government shutdown, it also kept in place the so-called sequester, the automatic budget cuts that began taking effect March 1.

The sequester and its forced spending cuts of $85 billion has been the subject of gloom and doom predictions from the Obama administration for weeks, but congressional Republicans paint a much rosier picture.

The bill moves dollars around to ensure that GOP priorities are fully funded, while other programs are cut back. At the Department of Homeland Security, for example, funding for the Transportation Safety Administration was cut by $349 million, the Secret Service by $54 million, and immigration and customs enforcement by $118 million.

At the same time, though, the measure increased funding for border protection by $215 million, cybersecurity by $314 million, and research and development by $167 million.

The CR, technically called the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013,” was approved by Congress and signed by the President last week. It extends existing funding levels through the end of the fiscal year Oct. 31.

Republicans were quick to hail passage of the CR as a validation of their budget cutting plans.

“This legislation provides funding for essential federal programs and services, it maintains our national security, and takes a potential government shutdown off the table,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the administration will continue pressing congressional Republicans to replace the sequester with a scheme that balances cuts in spending with new revenue gathered largely through the elimination of tax loopholes for the wealthy. “The president has presented ways, on numerous occasions, to eliminate the sequester entirely,” Carney said.

Republicans, meanwhile, are showing no sign of wavering on the issue, especially since the sequester has yet to have measurable impacts on the economy. The pain, job cuts and concomitant drag on the economy could still be months off.

Meanwhile, the government is left to make do without a budget and with a lot less money.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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