Monday, September 17, 2012

OMB Details Sequestration Plan; DHS Potentially Hit With $4B In Cuts


By: Mickey McCarter
09/17/2012 (12:00am)

The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report Friday providing an overview of the Obama administration's plans for sequestration, which is set to cut the federal budget across the board beginning Jan. 1, 2013, unless Congress can develop an alternate plan.

For the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the sequestration plan would mean a budget cut of just over $4 billion, according to the report, OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-155).

Overall, as spelled out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (PL 112-25), sequestration would cut $1.2 trillion from the US budget over 10 years. The amount would be divided evenly between defense and non-defense accounts. For the first year of sequestration, that means the White House must cut about $54.67 billion from defense accounts and the same amount from non-defense accounts.

Most of DHS spending falls under non-defense accounts based on how the Budget Control Act defines those terms. Generally speaking, the biggest DHS agencies would take the biggest hits under the sequestration plan with aviation security, immigration enforcement, border security and disaster relief accounts losing roughly half a billion each or more.

The OMB report cautioned, "The estimates and classifications in the report are preliminary. If the sequestration were to occur, the actual results would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary and technical analysis. However, the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions."

The report added, "The number of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Customs and Border Patrol agents, correctional officers and federal prosecutors would be slashed."

Generally, sequestration reduces non-exempt defense discretionary funding by 9.4 percent and non-exempt non-defense discretionary spending by 8.2 percent. It further cuts non-exempt defense mandatory programs by 10 percent and non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs by 7.6 percent, according to OMB's calculations.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would experience one of the biggest cuts of $1.27 trillion overall under the sequestration plan. The Federal Air Marshal Service would be cut 8.2 percent by $79 million.

Aviation security spending would be cut $448 million between discretionary and mandatory spending. Surface transportation security would drop $11 million; transportation security support, $85 million. The TSA Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing program would lose $20 million

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement would see a cut of $477 million in immigration enforcement efforts. Its automation modernization program would lose $1 million

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would lose roughly $955 million overall, accounting for nearly a quarter of DHS sequestered funds. Border security spending alone would receive a cut of $823 million. Air and marine interdiction efforts would lose $41 million; border security fencing, infrastructure and technology, $33 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would lose a total of $878 million under the sequestration plan. Disaster relief funding would take the biggest hit of $580 million.

The US Coast Guard, while by no means unscathed, comes out a little bit better than other agencies with budgets around $10 billion. It would lose $439 million under sequestration. Its operating expenses would lose $297 million altogether; acquisition and construction, $115 million; and oil spill programs, $8 million.

In total, DHS would lose $4.068 billion under the OMB sequestration plan. As Congress had passed no appropriations bill at the time of the OMB report, the White House presumed that budget levels would largely remain at the annualized level based on appropriations for fiscal year 2012.

DHS received $39.6 billion in FY 2012 appropriations under a consolidated spending bill enacted last December. 



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