Pentagon’s No. 2 joining budget director at sequester hearing

The addition of the Pentagon’s No. 2 officials will make the hearing the most high-profile yet on the sequestration cuts, which have been getting increasing attention in Washington. The cuts, roughly $500 billion to both defense and non-defense spending, were set in motion after the supercommittee failed to find more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction last year.

The Obama administration has said it’s not yet planning for the cuts, instead arguing they were never intended to be implemented and urging Congress to find a fix. But with the two parties unable to gain much traction on a deal, there have measures in Congress moving to force the administration to explain the cuts’ impact.

The Pentagon has said it’s not done any planning for the across-the-board cuts under guidance from OMB, but the budget agency has started softening its position, saying that some planning is occurring.

“While OMB has not yet engaged agencies in planning, our staff is conducting the analysis needed to move forward if necessary,” spokeswoman Moira Mack said in a statement Monday.