The Budget Axe is Swinging

The White House budget office has ordered federal agencies to slash their Fiscal 2013 budget requests by as much as 10 percent below Fiscal 2011 discretionary spending. The announcement comes on the heels of the recent passage of the debt ceiling bill, which looks to cut total discretionary spending and reduce the total deficit by $2.4 trillion over the next decade. “Unless your agency has been given explicit direction otherwise by [Office of Management and Budget], your overall agency request for 2013 should be at least five percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation,” states the Aug. 17 memo. Pentagon spokesman George Little said the department is working with OMB to determine the impact on the defense budget. “I don’t think this is necessarily a sea-change event,” said Little. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly said the Pentagon is prepared to cut around $350 billion from its budget over the next 10 years; however, anything beyond that “would have devastating effects on our national defense.” According to the memo, Fiscal 2013 budget submissions also should “identify additional discretionary funding reductions that would bring your request to a level that is at least 10 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation.” (AFPS report)