OMB to Begin Discussions with Agencies to Prepare for Possibility of Sequestration

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will begin holding initial discussions with federal agencies on planning for the possibility of sequestration, according to a memorandum to heads of executive departments and agencies sent last week.

OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients encouraged Congress to act quickly to avoid sequestration, the automatic process of across-the-board budget cuts to federal agencies set to take effect on Jan. 2, 2013, calling the automatic cuts “bad policy.”

“The president remains confident that Congress will act,” Zients wrote, “but because it has not yet made progress toward enacting sufficient deficit reduction, OMB will work with agencies, as necessary, on issues raised by a sequestration of this magnitude.”

OMB’s discussions with federal agencies will focus on which accounts and programs are exempt from sequestration under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (BBEDCA). OMB will also work with agencies on the reporting requirements of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which amended BBEDCA to establish the across-the-board budget cuts.

If Congress fails to take action to avoid the sequestration, Zients said, OMB will then work with agencies on implementing the sequestration, including collecting information on sequestrable amounts, as well as calculating unobligated balances and percentage reductions.

The memo follows the passage of a measure in the House demanding the White House provide details on the sequestration.

Posted in General News

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