CBO: No Sequestration Yet

Federal government funding won’t be pommeled by sequestration at least until September, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In a report issued this month, the CBO estimated the current $1.7 trillion budget cap—amended by 2015’s Bipartisan Budget Act (upping the caps set in 2011’s Budget Control Act)—won’t be breached by current spending. The cap itself, comprising a $551.1 billion defense segment and a $518.5 nondefense segment, is a bit fluid in that it allows for discretionary spending to be adjusted upward if appropriations are designated for overseas contingency operations (OCO), which covers the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, as well as for some types of disaster relief, and other nondefense initiatives. For 2017, that cap has adjusted so far by $118 billion. The majority of this amount, or $82.9 billion, went to defense OCO. However, this is all just an estimate toward whether sequestration will trigger by September if Congress doesn’t change its spending habits. The authority on actual sequestration is the Office of Management and Budget, which has yet to make a move either way. On May 2, 141 Republican House representatives signed a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), urging him to end sequestration on the defense end of the budget.