House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) today introduced the Sequestration Transparency Act, a bill to require President Obama to submit a report to Congress detailing how his administration plans to implement the budget sequestration cuts required to take place in January 2013 under current law.
“This month, House Republicans passed a plan to replace the dangerous and arbitrary defense cuts called for under sequestration with common sense spending reductions that begin the process of ensuring we live within our means,” said Hensarling. “Not only has the Democrat-controlled Senate not produced a budget in over 1,000 days, neither the Senate nor the president have offered a credible solution to replace the scheduled sequester cuts that the president’s own Defense Secretary warned would ‘hollow out the force and inflict severe damage to our national defense.’ If the president isn’t willing to work with Republicans to replace these harmful cuts, he should at least detail for the American people how his administration plans to implement them.”
“Military families and taxpayers alike deserve answers from our chief executive on the consequences of the sequestration process and the specific steps that he will take to address these concerns,” said Ryan. “House Republicans advanced specific, common-sense reforms to replace dangerous cuts to our national defense and key domestic priorities. The legislation we’re introducing today requires the President to join a debate he continues to evade.”
If current law is not changed, across-the-board spending cuts will be enforced under the Budget Control Act, resulting in a 10% cut to the Department of Defense and an 8% cut to non-defense discretionary spending—known as sequestration. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests from both the House and Senate, the administration has persistently refused to provide basic details about the scope, severity, and extent of the arbitrary cuts required by the sequester.
To address these concerns, the Sequestration Transparency Act would require the president to submit a report to Congress that includes an estimate of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to achieve the mandatory reduction for each spending category on an account level. Additionally, the Sequestration Transparency Act would require the report to include any other data or explanations that would enhance public understanding of the looming sequester and actions to be taken under it.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced companion legislation in the Senate last week.