Critical Read

OMB details sequester cuts in report to Congress

illustration dollar sign in vise

What: The Office of Management and Budget's March 1 breakdown of sequestration cuts that must now be implemented.

Why: OMB is required by law to report to Congress the specific percentages and dollar amounts that the sequester will trim from various agencies and programs. This report, issued once sequestration was officially triggered March 1, shows that discretionary defense spending must be cut by 7.8 percent in fiscal 2013, while discretionary non-defense spending faces 5 percent cuts across the board.

Those percentages are lower than OMB had projected in late 2012, due to "buy-down" cuts that were implemented in the Jan. 1 legislation that delayed the sequester until March 1. However, fiscal 2013 is already five months old, so budget cuts of 7.8 percent and 5 percent could feel like 13.4 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively, when squeezed into the remaining seven months.

The specified cuts include:

• $32 million from the Census Bureau's non-salary program expenses;

• $31 million from the Defense Department's acquisition workforce development fund;

Read the full report

OMB Report to Congress

• $29 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's scientific and technical research;

• $17 million from Internal Revenue Service business systems modernization;

• $16 million from the Homeland Security Department's office of the CIO;

• $10 million from the Housing and Urban Development Department's information technology portfolio;

• $2 million from the Justice Department's information sharing technology operations;

• $1 million from the Labor Department's information technology modernization efforts;

• $1 million from the Transportation Department's cyber security initiatives; and

• $2 million from the Merit Systems Protection Board, which will soon be fielding all the furlough-related challenges and complaints.

Verbatim: "According to analysis by outside experts, sequestration would reduce real GDP growth for 2013 by 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points were it to continue for the rest of the calendar year."

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

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