Senate presses White House to release information on impact of sequestration

Senators from both parties are operating on multiple tracks to try to pry information from the Obama administration about the impact of $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts through sequestration that are set to take effect in January 2013.

The administration has said it is not yet planning for sequestration, and is instead urging Congress to find a legislative solution to avoid the cuts, which would chop about $500 billion over the next decade from both defense and non-defense spending.

But there are two amendments to the farm bill currently on the Senate floor that would require the administration to release information about sequestration and its impact.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain asks Trump's CIA pick to explain ties to torture Petraeus: Haspel will explain actions in nomination hearing Afghanistan is our longest war ever and Congress has abandoned all responsibility MORE (R-Ariz.) has an amendment that will get a vote on the farm bill instructing the Pentagon to explain how the sequestration cuts would affect the Defense Department. The amendment was also included on the National Defense Authorization Act that passed out of committee but has not gone to the floor yet — and McCain says he plans to tack it onto every piece of Senate legislation on the floor until it’s law.

In addition to McCain’s amendment, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate Overnight Regulation: Omnibus includes deal on tip-pooling rule | Groups sue over rules for organic livestock | AT&T, DOJ make opening arguments in merger trial Warren presses Mulvaney, Azar on tip pooling MORE (D-Wash.) has an item on the farm bill that would require the Office of Management and Budget to provide information for the other side of the equation — explaining how sequestration would affect non-defense discretionary spending.

Taken together, the two amendments essentially add up to a piece of legislation from Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP chairman calls on Zuckerberg to testify GOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump With shutdown nearing, focus turns to Rand Paul MORE (R-S.D.) and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe defends himself against firing in Washington Post op-ed Attorney: Roy Moore supporters offered K, Bannon meeting to drop accuser as client Al Franken: Sessions firing McCabe ‘is hypocrisy at its worst’ MORE (R-Ala.), who introduced a bill to “require the administration to submit to Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act.”

Thune and Sessions sent a letter Tuesday to Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) asking him to schedule a markup of the legislation.

Republicans and most Democrats want to avoid sequestration, but they disagree on how to find the $1.2 trillion in alternative deficit reduction to avoid the cuts.