Sequestration Under a Continuing Resolution

Operating under a budget continuing resolution for Fiscal 2012 come January when sequestration kicks in wouldn’t make the Pentagon’s life any easier, said Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The budget cap for discretionary defense spending under sequestration cannot exceed $491 billion in Fiscal 2013, Harrison told reporters during an Aug. 24 briefing. A CR would mean that DOD operates at a level some $5 billion more than the budget topline the President proposed in Fiscal 2013, he said. If Congress eventually approves the Fiscal 2013 legislation at the President’s level, DOD would have to shed not only $56.5 billion from the topline, but also take out the extra $5 billion from the CR to meet the sequestration cap, he said. The later into the fiscal year it takes for DOD to implement these cuts, the steeper they will be for the remaining months in the fiscal year, he said. Sequestration calls for 10.3 percent cuts from non-except accounts. Because one-quarter of Fiscal 2013 is already over when it takes effect, those cuts would actually be closer to 14 percent, he said. They would be even higher if a CR was in effect, he noted. (See Harrison’s new backgrounder brief.) (See also Gradual Pain and Escaping Sequestration.)