Do you know the amount of funding the Department of Defense will automatically lose on January 2nd, 2013 to the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration?
The personnel accounts (military payroll) and the Department of Veteran Affairs exemption still stand. This is only the first cut that sequestration mandates over a ten year period, adding up to approximately $500 billion in cuts overall to defense.
Sequestration is the requirement, by law, to automatically balance the national budget with mandatory cuts across the board if Congress cannot create a balanced budget. Cuts will come at the expense of family services, procurement, and modernization funding, just to name a few. However, the release from the White House is extremely “soft”; it does not detail exactly which areas the cuts will come from nor exactly how much money will be taken from each department. It simply deducts the same minimum percentage off of each program as listed within the sequestration law (9.4 to 10 percent for defense) within the entire Department of Defense budget, with no variation. The report states “would be able to shift funds to ensure war fighting and critical military readiness capabilities were not degraded,” yet gives no detail or guidelines on who would determine what would be cut and where.
What does that mean for you? Here are just a few of the numbers
- Navy shipbuilding-down $2.1 billion
- Base housing maintenance and upkeep-down $121 million
- Army ammunition-down $229 million
Between the lack of detail and the fact that the report was a week late, Congress is upset, and Congressional Republicans are furious. The White House responded with a statement “The White House has now painted a graphic picture of what that scenario will look like. For 13 months, Congress has had the opportunity to take the steps necessary to prevent the sequester from kicking in, but has failed to do so. It is my hope this report serves as a wake-up call.” It also implies that Congress is using this issue as a political ploy, and need to solve this issue now, not after the presidential election in November.
This affects all parts of the national budget, not simply the Department of Defense. Cuts will come across the board (with the exception of a few exempted programs) and affect all Americans. Exemptions include Social Security and certain low-income program such as the Child Health Insurance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. What is not included are things we take for granted every day. Getting on a plane? Will there be enough air traffic controllers? Jonesing for a steak? Who inspected the processing facilities? The budget needs to be resolved now. Contact your Senator or Representative, give them a piece of your mind, and tell them to do their job. It’s what we elected them for. Don’t let them forget that.