On Friday, the White House delivered a 394-page preliminary report to Congress detailing how it plans to implement automatic cuts, known as sequestration, to defense and non-defense programs scheduled to go into effect January 2, 2013.
The White House Office of Management and Budget says the automatic cuts would reduce spending across more than 1,200 federal accounts by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
For fiscal year 2013, that means chopping $109 billion in spending: $54.7 billion from defense and $54.7 billion from domestic programs, including an $11 billion, or 2 percent cut from Medicare. However, certain entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid are largely exempt from sequestration.
"Because it was outlined in the Budget Control Act, we have known for a long time about the sequestration deadline and the devastation it would cause to programs vital to our nation and our citizens," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. "The Supercommittee failed to overcome its differences, and I share the view of President Obama and many of my colleagues that sequestration was a bad policy. Today's report underlines that simple fact and is also a call for us to finally do the hard work it will take to develop more balanced approaches to reducing government spending.
"The time for partisan bickering is long past. We know what needs to be done, and I am hopeful that we will finally get the cooperation from both sides of the aisle that it will take to address these concerns in a balanced way."
The report estimates reductions in discretionary defense spending by 9.4 percent and domestic discretionary (non-exempt) spending by 8.2 percent. The legislative branch is not exempt from cuts.
Sequestration can be avoided if Congress passes new legislation to repeal it.
Last year, House Republicans demanded huge spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. That forced the President and congressional leaders to agree to the Budget Control Act, and the establishment of the Supercommittee, to prevent the country from defaulting on its loans. The sequestered cuts scheduled to take place in January, as mandated by the BCA, are a result of the Supercommittee's failure to reach a compromise on deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion over the next decade. President Obama was required to submit this detailed report to Congress under the terms of the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 signed into law in August.