White House to miss deadline for report on 'fiscal cliff' budget cuts

The White House on Friday said it will miss the legal deadline for delivering a report to Congress on the spending cuts from sequestration that are scheduled to take effect in 2013.

Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One that the report will be coming next week.

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Under the terms of the Sequestration Transparency Act signed in August, President Obama was to tell Congress by Friday how the administration plans to implement the $109 billion in automatic cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act.

The Office of Management and Budget has repeatedly failed to make legal deadlines. It delivered its presidential budget proposals and mid-session updates late both this year and last year. 

Republicans have tried to tie the tardiness to the failure of the Senate to pass a budget resolution for the last three years.


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"Like the [Sen. Harry] Reid majority, the White House has shown astonishingly little regard for budget law in this time of crisis," said Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), who co-authored the transparency law.

The sequestered cuts coming in January were triggered by the failure of the 2011 supercommittee to reach a compromise on deficit reduction. The Pentagon says the looming defense cuts will devastate the military. The deal also cuts non-defense spending, but shields most entitlement benefits.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), another author of the transparency bill, blasted the delay of the report and said the administration "seems to think it is above the law."

“Americans of all stripes are required to play by the rules and follow the laws of the land. Unfortunately, by disregarding the sequestration reporting deadline, the Obama administration seems to think it is above the lawm" he said. "The American people deserve to know the president’s plan for implementing these cuts, some of which our military leaders have said will compromise our nation’s ability to protect itself."

The Obama administration had hoped that the defense cuts in the sequester would force the GOP to agree to new taxes in a deficit deal, and rejected a short-term fix that would have required another showdown on the debt ceiling before the election. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama needs to come clean about his plans to carry out the spending cuts.

“The sequester originated from this White House, yet it refuses to level with the American people about the devastating impact it will have on our country," Boehner said in a statement. "By proposing the sequester, the president put his own election campaign ahead of the interests of the country. He has a responsibility and legal obligation to tell the American people how he plans to implement, or replace, these devastating cuts."

Boehner highlighted that House Republicans have passed a replacement for the sequester. That bill relies heavily on social program cuts and does not contain tax increases, which Democrats say are needed for a fair deal.

The White House declined to provide further comment on the delay of the report.

—This story was updated at 3:23 p.m.