A Real March Madness Showdown

The two-month delay to the start of budget sequestration sets up the situation where the United States—and the Pentagon—could face three major budget issues in March, said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Under the language of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which became law on Jan. 2, sequestration, with its significant budget cuts, is scheduled to hit the Pentagon and other federal departments on March 1. Meanwhile, at or around the same time—in late February or early March—the Treasury Department will run out of options to avoid breaching the federal debt limit, thereby raising the danger of a default, said Harrison during a Jan. 9 briefing in Washington, D.C. On top of that is the fact that the continuing resolution that is currently funding the federal government at Fiscal 2012 levels expires on March 27, he noted. (CSBA backgrounder) (For more from Harrison’s presentation, see A Cliff Still in Sight.)