The Office of the Navy was told to simply wait, and to not make any plans in response to the cuts just yet —advice that acts as a counter to the typical plan-ahead mantra of defense.
Despite growing worry from the House Armed Services Committee and the Pentagon, Obama created a plan to deal with the sequester before it became an issue: In the 2013 budget proposal, he included a policy that would replace the sequestration with $1.5 trillion in additional revenue — all gained from a substantial tax increase for citizens with a combined income of more than $250,000.
“With a sequester poised to take effect in January 2013 that would inflict great damage on critical domestic priorities as well as the country’s national security, it is especially important that the Congress come together and pass a balanced deficit reduction plan to replace this sequester and, also, go beyond its required deficit reduction,” the budget analysis reads.
Obama proposed similar tax increases in 2010, but the proposal was shot down by the House and Senate. It is speculated that the president will try to pass the same tax increase in the coming months, but it is likely to be denied by Congress yet again.
“It is absurd for him to think that he can do it now, yet that’s what he points to to avoid sequestration,” said Patrick Louis Knudsen, a senior fellow in budgetary affairs at the Heritage Foundation.
Currently, the Department of Defense has proposed more than $487 billion in budget cuts, but if the sequestration does occur, McKeon warned, there could be an additional $500 billion in cuts. OMB and the White House, though, hardly seem fazed by the possibility, adding doubt to whether the threat is real.
“The White House isn’t doing anything,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, a Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee.
While there is no way to predict whether the threat of a sequester is real or not, Knudsen believes that the White House is remaining quiet for one of two reasons: 1) They don’t have a plan with how to deal with it, or 2) They have a plan but don’t want to discuss it when facing voters in a few months.
The White House declined TheDC’s request for comment.
Each year, OMB releases projections for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. Next year, MB projected that the Department of Defense would receive $524.5 billion — a 1 percent decrease from the 2012 budget. The report said that, despite cuts, the 2013 budget would “keep our military the finest in the world by investing in priorities.”
“He’s the commander in chief. That should be his utmost concern — how he deals with the defense budget.,” Knudsen said. “But he’s offered nothing specific on how to address these looming defense cuts.”