February 22nd, 2013
10:33 AM ET
1 year ago

When do the forced spending cuts kick in?

Washington (CNN) - By now everyone knows the forced federal spending cuts trigger March 1 - a week from Friday - and will strip $85 billion from federal agencies over the next seven months.

But when exactly do they kick in?

It turns out President Barack Obama gets to decide - but must issue an order to begin sequestration, as the cuts are known in Washington, by 11:59 p.m. on March 1, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget.

As that happens, the OMB would send a report to Congress as required under the law "detailing the reductions in each budgetary account," the official said.

The Obama administration has previously said defense budget accounts would feel the most heat with cuts of about 13%. Non-defense spending would be cut by about 9%, they said, while some entitlement spending for programs including Medicare and Social Security are sheltered from the cuts.

The president called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - the top two Republicans on Capitol Hill - and talked about the forced budget cuts, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.

Two polls released Thursday showed more Americans want the cuts delayed than to take effect. A Pew and USA Today poll found 49% said the cuts should be paused while a Bloomberg poll put that number at 54%. Four in ten wanted the cuts to take effect, each poll found.

The Pew poll also showed more Americans would put the blame for the cuts on Republicans than on Obama.

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    "However, let us NOT forget that it's and foremost a Democrat plan that they never expected to enact.
    Now we'll how this President will SPIN HIS PLAN."

    You like to spin a bit yourself ... yes? So, let me try this out on you ... it's 98 and sunny in Minnesota and -20 and snowing in Florida. Do I have any facts to back up my statement? Probably no more facts than you have to back up that statement of yours.

    February 22, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Steve

    These cuts are a spit in the ocean! Hilarious how these radical Dems and Liberals squeal like stuck pigs if anyone makes them cut something, yet they can take money from us six ways to Sunday.

    February 22, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. TR

    IT"s OVER. After listening to both sides, if the world is going to end due to $44billion of reduced growth in spending $3.5Trillion this year, then the out-of-controls have won! Anyone thinks our government can enact any restraint in spending, let alone putting in place any of"Simpson-Bowles" reform which require far more cuts in spending, just isn't going to happen. Next time you face off with your representative in a townhall meeting, as them this question: "what's our government's plan to start pay the debt back?" Our childreen can NEVER pay this debt because there will not be enough of them to do it and the income they will earn is doing to be HALF of what this generation makes now. Going forward, history shows democracies (ours is a democratic republic) last an average of 200-years, the people become polarized, the government becomes repressive and eventually the people turn on it's own government.

    February 22, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Anonomous

    The sequestration cuts are about 2.2% of the Fed spending for 2013. That's about 9.4% of the 2013 projected deficit. At that rate the US will have a balanced budget in... never.

    February 22, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    @Mike A Thank you.

    February 22, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. realitycheck

    the problem really is BOTH party's are right AND wrong...it's inflexibility that is harming the economy
    when the economy is struggling government spending helps the economy...
    when the economy is strong government cuts help the economy...
    yet the economy doesn't care who is in office so as it goes through it's ups and downs and NEITHER party is willing to adjust to meet current economic reality BOTH end up harming the economy

    Also...before we attack the "evil" Democrats who fight alongside those "fat" unions perhaps we should look at what woes they have brought upon us....
    -ending child labor in the US (how dare they)
    -causing the creation of a weekend (No one needs that)
    -fighting for greater safety in food/ industry (why?)
    -creating social security/ medicaid/ medicare (who needs to help the poor) as a safety net

    If anyone is to blame it is all of us for supporting leaders whom are inflexible and don't appreciate what Both groups have done to aid those in our great nation

    February 22, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. sc

    nothing to see here move along. it is like whatever. This budget thing, cause and effect is so simple. Why do people think you can have your cake and eat it too. No such thing. I see a ton of ignorance posted here. Like people without means like being poor. Everyone who works, regardless to how much they make, even ole mitt, if he or one of his kids make a awful mistake can end up on the streets. Cause and effect, what caused a rise in spending. Cutting taxes without retooling organizations that relied on the revenue, war, off the books, unfunded, paid for by blood and steel. The best of the best of the militaries sacrificed for profit. Housing scams unregulated, the big boys they have made their fees, they don't care about the aftermass. You see, everything that GW did during his reign, has left us in a unattendable situation, the reson why O is considered a savior is because people of color no matter what part of the country you are in has to work ten to one hundred times harder than their white counterpart. People are depending on O to beat back the pack of rabid dogs that have smelled the meat tax free money and don't want to let loose. This is all a farce, I don't know why people would think that anyone in their right mind would want to stop the automatic cuts. Since these automatic cuts seem to be the only way to get anything back to PRE-BUSH ERA let them happen. This is not a win for no one, this is what has to happen. Sorry people don't even worry about non of this hogwash. Let the cuts happen. Let the earth get scorched, actually it is no where bad as fortold, then and only them, perhaps, on a slim chane a more perfect "UNION" might be formed.

    February 22, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. J Russ

    if we cannot cut less than 3% of the budget without ending life as we know it then it seems to me it's already over

    February 22, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Super D

    If employees are going to lay off people who voted for the President, how are they going to tell who voted for the President? Perhaps by looking at their skin color or the way they dress??? Furthermore, in response to all the garbage you just posted, just remember that when the ship sinks, republicans as well as democrats would suffer. And by the way, just remember millions of conservatives who voted for Romney were part of the 47% he so despised. You need to keep your bigotry and ignorance in check.

    February 22, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. evaessen

    If you want a first class country, you need to pay first class rates. With cuts like these, we'll be competing Somolia and Kurdistan.

    February 22, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. nomad2003

    please show me where the Federal Government will actually spend less in 2013 then it did in 2012 because of these "cuts". This can not be done since the government is spending MORE than it did in 2012. All this gloom and doom is spin so the dems will not have to spend less.

    February 22, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. upstate taxpayer

    I am waiting to see when food stamps and other entitlements are cut. Folks buying soda, chips, candy etc with food stamps? Buying milk with food stamps while paying $65 in cash for play station games? Way too many freebies for those that have money to spend

    February 22, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Shortbus

    I thought these weren't actually reductions in spending over last year's amounts, only reductions in increased spending. So we should have the same level of services we had last year, right?

    February 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Fed-up

    I'm all for cutting waste. Just don't cut the things I care about. Like crop subsidies for my mega farm, flood insurance subsidies for my second home on the coast, COLAs for my Soc. Sec., inspectors for my food supply, and latest weapon systems for investments in Boeing and Northrup Gruman, the weather service for early tornado warnings, and the headstart program for my grandkids. Everything else is fine.

    February 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. paofpa

    Just remember, do not cut knowledge or infrastructure; expand it. For this is what has made us today. Just think, for every dollar spent in the advancement drones; ten can be taken from our defense spending. Eventually, we will not need any Generals; we have 535 who will replace them. And they will declare war on Canada for not buying enough Kentucky Bourbon.

    February 22, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Until our leaders decide to do what's best for our country rather than what is popular and wins them the next election, this will not change. Last time I checked, history remembers those that made the difficult but ultimately right decisions vs. those that did what the polls suggested. I wonder how Fortune 500 companys would look if they didn't make the tough decisions at the right times...

    February 22, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. BearLeeDunn

    If we can just borrow, borrow, borrow from future generations, a tax on the unborn who will be forced to pay our bills and their's too, we can have a thriving liberal economy today. Gee, how did this profound stupidity work out for the USSR?

    February 22, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    As President Clinton once said, let's do the arithmetic. The GOPT is fighting to impose a $85 billion spending cut they say is necessary to reduce the national debt while democrats are saying that we can make cuts in some arears while ensuring that important positions are preserved. The GOPT is adamant about the whole idea, accusing democrats of wasteful spending, while stressing "FISCALRESPONSIBILITY." Well, let's do the Arithmetic and you be the judge. What is wasteful spending??? $85 billion dollars in domestic spending or $5.5 trillion on two foreign wars??? You be the judge. And by the way, would you trust the fiscal leadership of a party that has squandered a surplus and led the country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with high inflation, record unemployment, a housing crisis, a broken financial system and a severely inflated national debt or the fiscal leadership of a party that has stabilized and grown the economy with 32 consecutive months of economic growth and kept jobs from being outsourced??? You be the judge.

    February 22, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. anonymous

    I don't know where all this talk of it being a democratic plan is coming from. I am an independent and it has been made clear over and over that this was something both parties agreed was a doomsday scenario that would force them to work together to avoid it.

    And here we are. But I will note that one other thing is blatantly clear: the republicans are unwilling to compromise and the democrats are because the republicans have, after retreating from this position last year, gone back to saying no increases in taxes or revenue whereas Obama was putting up for negotiation a lot of democratic "sacred cows" like offering to chain certain benefits to a level that is not inflation corrected. Rail all you want to about it but don't try to act like the majority of Americans are going to blame anyone but the GOP: the polls have for several years of Obama's presidency made it clear that the majority of Americans attribute the gridlock to Republicans. In this case I think it is appropriate that they take the heat because they are the ones who have explicitly said they are unwilling to compromise unless they get everything they want.

    This has got to be one of, if not the worst, Congress in living memory. God help us, they are more powerful than Obama, and their willingness to hurt the country so they can play a game of chickenl rather than negotiate in good faith is absurd and shameful.

    February 22, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Ray E. (Georgia)

    WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE, WHEN FIRST WE PRACTICE TO DECEIVE. Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause, uh, no Virginia, there is no Santa Clause !! Refuse to take your Medicine? Better to take it now than delay it. It will be a bit less Painful. Then it is time to book your own life rather than hand it to someone else. Sorry but this Gravy Train has run out of steam.

    February 22, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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