OMB kicks off sequestration planning process
With massive budget cuts set to take effect in early January, the Office of Management and Budget is beginning to reach out to agencies to start planning for implementation of a sequestration order.
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But so far the OMB guidance is focused on talking.
In a July 31 memo, OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients informed agency heads his office will be holding talks about the how the sequester would be implemented. The $1.2 trillion in cuts will be automatically triggered unless a budget is passed that meets the requirements of the Budget Control Act.
President Barack Obama “remains confident that Congress will act, but because it has not yet made progress toward enacting sufficient deficit reduction, the Office of Management and Budget will work with agencies, as necessary, on issues raised by a sequestration of this magnitude,” Zients wrote.
OMB plans to talk to agencies about expected reporting requirements set by Congress that are related to, but separate from, a sequestration order under the Budget Control Act, Zients said.
The exact amount of money being cut by sequestration can only be calculated once fiscal 2013 funding levels are determined, Zients said. OMB will have to gather information on sequestrable amounts and gauge the percentage reductions necessary to implement the cuts before any sequestration order is issued.
“In the meantime, agencies should continue normal spending and operations since more than five months remain for Congress to act,” Zients said.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.