Deadline nears for White House report on possible spending cuts

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 06, 2012 11:52 PM
Deadline nears for White House report on possible spending cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A deadline loomed on Thursday for the Obama administration to provide details on mandatory spending cuts if Congress fails to reach a deficit reduction deal by year end, but the White House has not said when it will release the report.

President Barack Obama, who on Thursday night accepted the Democratic Party nomination for a second term, is required to list how the first segment of $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts over 10 years would affect the government. Under a law he signed on August 7, he was supposed to do that within 30 days.

If the cuts are not changed or canceled by Congress, the spending reductions would take away about $55 billion from defense and $55 billion from other domestic programs in 2013.

Neither Obama nor congressional Republicans want the across-the-board automatic spending cuts to proceed, but they have been unable to reach a deal on how to replace them with other, more carefully crafted deficit-reduction steps.

The Republican congressional leadership expressed frustration on Thursday that the report, which is being prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, was not yet available.

"OMB said it was due today," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Despite repeated inquiries, the White House has yet to tell us when they are sending up the report."

There was no comment from the White House.

The report is likely to be very specific and list dollar amounts in great detail, said budget analyst Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"That's a lot of numbers, and one person described the report as a big 'data dump.'" he said.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Peter Cooney)