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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

President Obama to Tackle Sequestration in Next Fiscal Year

October 16, 2014 | Federal Budget | Comments
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A top economic adviser to President Obama said this week that the President plans to “push quite vigorously” against sequestration in the upcoming debate over spending levels for fiscal year 2016. Because it affects top-line spending for health, education, and infrastructure activities, a reversal or reduction in the sequestration cuts could make more funding available for priorities like mental health and addiction treatment.

Triggered under the compromise Budget Control Act of 2011, sequestration is a spending reduction mechanism by which 10-year, across-the-board cuts were imposed on federal agencies in the wake of a congressional committee’s failure to agree on more targeted spending limitations. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 eased the effects of sequestration on some non-discretionary spending programs by replacing about half the cuts in 2014 and one-fifth of the cuts scheduled for 2015. Without additional action, sequestration will once again be in full force in fiscal year 2016 – an issue that is sure to see vigorous debate in the new Congress.

Bloomberg BNA news reports that the President plans to release a proposed 2016 budget that reduces the impact of sequestration. “The president’s [FY 2015] budget proposes to shift away from the harmful policy of sequestration toward smart, balanced long-term deficit reduction paired with fully-paid-for investments that will accelerate economic growth and increase opportunities for all Americans,” said a spokesperson from the Office of Management and Budget.

It was not clear what strategy the President plans to use for building political support to reverse the sequester, or whether Congress will have an appetite to do so in the wake of the upcoming midterm elections. Stay tuned to Capitol Connector for the latest news and updates on the federal budget.