Welcome all to the House Budget Committee.
We meet today to mark up the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, a bill to require the Office of Management and Budget to provide information on how it will implement across-the-board cuts that are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013.
Under the Budget Control Act, the Office of Management and Budget will make arbitrary across-the-board spending cuts, resulting in a 10 percent cut to defense spending and an 8 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending.
There is strong, bipartisan agreement that the sequester is bad policy and should be reprioritized. That’s why House Republicans passed legislation last month that would replace these crippling cuts with common-sense reforms and spending reductions. Unfortunately, we have not seen action from the Senate and the White House has not put forward a specific proposal. As each day goes by, we get closer and closer to these cuts being implemented.
This Committee held hearings earlier this year on the Budget Control Act’s sequester process and I followed up with a letter to OMB requesting details on how this sequester would be implemented. Despite repeated inquiries, OMB has not provided the requested information and we still do not know how specific federal programs and activities will be affected.
To address these concerns, the bill that we are marking up today would require the President to submit a report to Congress that includes the basic details of the looming sequester and the actions to be taken under it. This is a concern for both parties and all Americans. This bill aims to provide transparency to the Congress and the American public. While we want to replace these savings with common-sense reforms, and the House has passed legislation to do so, we cannot turn a blind eye to these across-the-board reductions and how they will be implemented.
The Senate has passed, on a bipartisan basis, legislation requiring disclosure of additional information on the sequester and I hope we can report this legislation today.
I want to thank Jeb Hensarling, who served as the Republican co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, for introducing this important bill.
Before calling up the legislation, I yield to Mr. Van Hollen.