Rep. Dicks: Sequester could cut additional $10B from defense

The Dicks letter says that the total defense cuts under sequestration would be $60.6 billion in 2013, which is $10 billion higher than the figure cited by OMB.

OMB has said the defense cut would be $55 billion, but the two are working off of different definitions of defense spending, as the Appropriations Committee counts some items under non-defense categories. 

The committee's report says that in total, sequestration would cut $10 billion on top of the $109 billion cited by OMB.  

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An aide to Dicks said that the difference stems from OMB not being asked to look at the second sequestration that was part of the Budget Control Act, the law that set the cuts in motion.

“OMB, in accordance with the [Sequestration Transparency Act], looked at only one aspect of sequestration,” Dicks wrote in the letter. “As another motivation to act, the BCA also set up a second, separate sequestration to enforce the firewall between security and non-security appropriations. Because the Joint Committee failed, a new and lower defense firewall goes into effect, requiring an additional cut in defense spending.”

The committee also laid out job losses it estimates will occur as a result of the non-defense sequester, which will also be cut $55 billion in 2013.

The committee estimated more than 24,500 Homeland Security jobs would be lost, 2,200 FAA jobs, and 3,000 Justice Department positions including the within the FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Drug Enforcement Agency. A Dicks aide said the list was not comprehensive.

The CRS report estimated that 907,000 direct, indirect and induced defense jobs would be lost from sequestration. That total includes 152,000 DOD civilian and military positions and 91,000 direct jobs at contractors.

The report also estimates that the 2-percent reduction in the Medicare budget would support 500,000 fewer jobs, and cuts at the National Institutes of Health would lead to 34,000 job losses.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the additional amount that could be cut to defense spending under sequestration, due to the different calculations of defense spending by OMB and the Appropriations Committee.