Republicans rap White House silence on sequester report

House Speaker John Boehner , R-Ohio House Speaker John Boehner , R-Ohio J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasted the White House for giving no sign of the impending delivery of a report detailing planning for across-the-board budget cuts as called for in the Sequester Transparency Act signed by President Obama on Aug. 7.

The law (P.L. 112-155) gave the president 30 days to report to Congress on the estimated impact of the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration threat on discretionary and mandatory spending.

“House Republicans have already offered, and passed, a plan to protect our troops by replacing the ‘sequester’ with common-sense spending cuts and reforms,” Boehner said in a press release. “Now it’s time for President Obama to obey the law he signed and tell the American people how he plans to implement (or replace) these devastating cuts.”

The White House has declined comment. There has been some confusion on the law’s exact deadline. Boehner’s statement said the 30-day deadline expires on Sept. 7. A Congressional Research Service report by an analyst put the deadline at Sept. 6. An analysis by the Professional Services Council, a contractors trade group, set the deadline at Sept. 8.

The Sequester Transparency Act was introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, on May 31 at a time when the GOP and many in the defense industry had begun sounding alarms against impending cuts in the defense budget.

“While House Republicans remain committed to achieving the full spending reduction required by the Budget Control Act, we believe that we cannot solve our national debt crisis by deliberately permitting a national defense crisis, which is why we have a plan to replace those arbitrary cuts with other spending cuts and reforms,” Hensarling said in August after Obama signed his bill. “With the sunlight provided by this new law, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to replace these damaging defense cuts and expect the president to work with us.”

The Office of Management and Budget has maintained that sequestration is a bad policy prospect that should be headed off via a broader budget deal.

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