As you have no-doubt read or heard, the federal government faces a budget sequestration process unless Congress reaches a compromise by March 1 — an agreement that appears increasingly unlikely. This process was set in place in November 2011 when President Obama and congressional leaders agreed, as part of the Budget Control Act, to create a “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” charged with identifying ways to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
The Act also provided an automatic trigger of spending cuts in the event the Joint Committee and Congress failed to pass deficit reduction legislation. As a result, across-the-board spending cuts of eight percent to discretionary programs (applied equally to defense and non-defense programs) will take effect beginning Friday. View an ARTBA-prepared fact sheet on the sequester’s impact on federal transportation programs.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have spent the past few months lamenting the severity of the cuts and detailing the overall impact on the economy. It remains unclear if a plan to delay or modify the cuts will be advanced in the next few days.