Player of the Week: Sequestration

The so-called sequestration, which would slash about $500 billion in defense spending, has its share of critics in both parties. Defense contractors also cry foul, unsure of how they should proceed with possible layoffs in early 2013.

Republicans in the House are scheduled to pass legislation this week that would replace the cuts in the sequester. That bill will die in the upper chamber, where Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (Nev.) and other Democrats have ripped the GOP for refusing to budge and raise taxes.

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Until they do, Reid has said, the sequester will remain in place.

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has attempted to portray the sequester as President Obama’s defense cuts. Democrats counter that influential members of both parties agreed to the sequester when they created the supercommittee, including Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress Feehery: An opening to repair our broken immigration system GOP chairman in talks with 'big pharma' on moving drug pricing bill MORE (R-Wis.), Romney’s running mate.

The supercommittee flopped, and unless Congress acts before the new year, defense and social programs will be cut significantly.

Many liberal Democrats say the focus on defense has been skewed.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law MORE (D-Iowa) said, “Some members of Congress warn that defense contracting firms will lay off employees if sequestration goes into effect ... They say nothing of the tens of thousands of teachers, police officers and other public servants in communities all across America who would also lose their jobs.”

The Office of Management and Budget later this week will detail how it would implement sequestration in a highly anticipated report, which was mandated by the Sequestration Transparency Act. That bipartisan bill was passed by Congress last month.

Some political analysts believe that sequestration will be postponed as part of an agreement to deal with the pending “fiscal cliff.” But such an accord, if it happens, won’t occur until after the elections.