President Barack Obama now has 30 days to give Congress a detailed report on exactly how the sequester budget cuts will affect domestic and military programs.
Obama signed the “Sequestration Transparency Act” Tuesday afternoon after the measure received bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
The law now requires Obama’s budget team to delineate in the next month which programs will be cut.
The report will reach Congress before the House ends its recess on Sept. 7 and the Senate on Sept. 9. It will surely ramp up debate about the sequester and how to prevent it as members of Congress find their pet projects being laid on the guillotine.
Congress created the sequester cuts to incentivize a “super committee” agreement, but with that committee failing to reach a compromise, the budget cuts — $109.3 billion per year for nine years — are scheduled to hit the U.S. at the beginning of 2013. The sequester is one component of the so-called fiscal cliff that looms as lawmakers wrestle with fiscal issues, including the re-extension of Bush-era tax cuts.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan called the president’s signature “a welcome step toward providing Congress and American taxpayers with the transparency necessary to understand how sequestration will affect our national defense and key domestic priorities.”
Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has led the Republican charge in warning how the cuts would hurt the U.S. military, said, “Now there are only a few days left to find a solution. House Republicans have acted. I look forward to the President’s leadership in bringing Senate Democrats to the table.”
In testimony before McKeon’s committee last week, Obama budget chief Jeffrey Zients agreed that the sequester cuts would force people to lose their jobs and hurt domestic programs and the military.