Coming Soon? WH Misses Deadline Outlining Defense Cuts

Leah Barkoukis

9/8/2012 8:15:00 AM - Leah Barkoukis

Off to a good start after the DNC, Team O missed the legal deadline to hand over a report telling Congress how it will implement spending cuts from sequestration scheduled for 2013. Never mind the fact that he signed off on the Friday deadline last month. Hey, he’s had a lot on his plate – figuring out $109 billion in automatic cuts can wait, right?

As we learned in Bob Woodward’s new book, the idea for sequester originated from the White House to begin with.  According to excerpts released from the book:

President Barack Obama’s top deputies believed the prospect of massive defense cuts would compel Republicans to agree to a deficit-cutting grand bargain. […] Under the deal, which Republicans accepted after several rounds of bargaining, the federal debt ceiling was raised — staving off a potential financial crisis.

Leon Panetta and many others in the defense community agree - the cuts are going to be “devastating.” In June, Panetta pleaded to Congress saying, "Too often today, the nation's problems are held hostage to the unwillingness to find consensus and compromise, and in the face of that gridlock, artificial devices like sequester are resorted to in order to somehow force action. But in the absence of action, sequestration could very well threaten the programs critical to our nation's security," he warned.

The House already passed a bill that would serve as a replacement, with cuts coming from social programs like food stamps instead of defense. But alas, the White House wants tax hikes to be part of the deal (to make it “fair,” of course) and the House won’t budge on that one.  Speaking on the campaign trail recently about sequestration and the House’s plan, Ryan said:

“In January our intention is that if we don’t fix it in the lame duck is to fix it retroactively once a new session of Congress takes place,” Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, told a crowd in North Carolina Thursday, “We have procedural way in the Senate to advance that legislation very quickly and get it to the next President of the United States who I believe is going to be Mitt Romney, to pass that into law and retroactively prevent that sequester from taking place in January.”

Republicans were quick to blast the delay, with Romney tweeting that Obama chose to ignore the deadline. Defense cuts are “threatening jobs & putting families at risk,” he wrote in one tweet. "Folks in Virginia are not better off.”

Rest assured, Jay Carney said it’s coming next week. I'm not holding my breath.