Continuing Resolutions Poised to Trigger Sequestration
According to a new report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), continued reliance on continuing resolutions would likely trigger across-the-board federal spending cuts, or sequestration.
Congress has thus far failed to pass a full budget. Instead, President Donald Trump approved a stopgap continuing resolution that maintains current spending levels through December 8th. The continuing resolution has become a maligned and heavily relied upon tool for legislators, with the most recent temporary spending measure representing the ninth consecutive year marked by the passage of a continuing resolution.
The measures widely discussed in Congress, including the “minibus” recently passed by the House and endorsed by the administration, also pose problems. According to the Office of Management and Budget “If the 2018 discretionary caps remain unchanged, this report estimates that, if enacted, the actions to date by the House of Representatives would result in a sequestration of $72.4 billion in the defense category. The report also finds that action or funding guidance in the Senate, if enacted, would result in a sequestration of $2 billion in the defense category and a sequestration of $3.8 billion in the non-defense category under the current 2018 spending limits.”
The looming sequestration is based on spending caps established in 2011 by the Budget Control Act. With current spending levels established by the continuing resolution poised to exceed those caps, lawmakers must either pass a full budget or raise the spending caps, as they have done twice previously, in seeking to avoid another sequestration, as occurred in 2013.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have yet to find agreement on how best to make the necessary adjustments. Further complicating negotiations are disagreements over funding President Trump’s proposed wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico, a stipulation over which the president has indicated he would be willing to shut down the government.
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