OMB tells agencies it will begin consulting on sequester

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) will have acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients appear before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, where he’s expected to hear complaints from Republicans that the Obama administration is ignoring the potential cuts.

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Zients’s memo ahead of the hearing is unlikely to satisfy McKeon’s criticisms, as he has said that the cost of sequestration must be known now so that contractors and others can understand what the impact will be.

Zients wrote that agencies should continue normal spending and operations "since more than 5 months remain for Congress to act.”

The administration had said earlier this year that it was not planning for the cuts because it wanted Congress to reverse them, but OMB officials have slowly acknowledged they are doing some planning.

Zients told the agencies that OMB would consult with them on the sequestration cuts, writing that the agency will “be holding discussions on these issues with you and your staff over the coming months.”

Zients said that they would consult on topics including application to agency accounts and exemptions from sequestration.

He said that the reporting requirements in the congressional bill were unrelated to the implementation of the cuts.