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Pick your sequester scenario

tea leaves

Can you read the tea leaves on sequestration? (Photo by Cyron via Flickr under Creative Commons license.)

Is the sequester a certainty? Legislators and agency leaders alike are now saying the March 1 cuts will likely take effect. But former Government Accountability Office executive Paul Posner told the Federal Times this week that "the full sequester is only one of 20 potential scenarios."

Posner, who was GAO's director of Federal Budget and Intergovernmental Relations and now heads George Mason University's Master's in Public Administration program, told FCW on Feb. 5 that a "short sequester" seems probable, but there is still "considerable uncertainty surrounding the outcome."

Name a solution

Full sequester? Another extension? Call the whole thing off? Let us know in the comments what you think should be done.

The March 1 cuts are relatively small compared to past sequesters, Posner said, noting that cuts of 25 percent were threatened in a 1990 sequester that prompted a bipartisan grand bargain. And this time, he said, is appears that most everyone "dislikes the alternatives to sequester even more than they dislike the sequester."

However, a budget deal to extend the continuing resolution that expires March 27 could roll back some or all of the sequester, Posner said. And there could be legislation that preserves the overall cuts, but gives agencies more flexibility in how to apply them.

Those hoping for an expert prediction, however, are out of luck: "I would not bet on any outcome at this point," Posner said.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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