THE WEEK AHEAD: GOP slams White House for delayed sequester report

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Friday the report would be delivered to Capitol Hill next week, a week after the congressionally imposed deadline set for Monday.

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The announcement comes just as lawmakers are set to return to Washington after the August recess.

The deadline was part of the Sequestration Transparency Act signed in August, which directs the administration to explain how it will implement the $109 billion in automatic cuts — half of which will come from DOD coffers — mandated by the Budget Control Act.

The budget cuts under the so-called sequestration plan are set to go into effect by January, unless lawmakers can come up with an alternative solution.

The announcement drew the ire of many top Republicans, who argued it was yet another example of the White House and congressional Democrats stonewalling any potential sequestration solution.

“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,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

“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,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) added.

The Sequestration Transparency Act was passed shortly after Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, got into a heated exchange with GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year.

Committee members lambasted Zients and the White House for not being transparent enough on their sequestration plans.

In response, Zients accused Republicans of forcing the administration’s hand regarding the looming cuts due to their refusal to consider tax increases in any possible alternative plan.

While the sequestration debate will likely take center stage again when Congress resumes business on Monday, House defense lawmakers have a full slate awaiting them when they return.

The second half of the legislative season starts Tuesday, when House defense lawmakers will hear testimony on the Pentagon’s efforts to increase international cooperation with its allies across the globe.

Michael Sheehan, head of DOD’s special operations and Low-Intensity Conflict office, along with the Joint Staff’s policy chief, Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff, will update the House panel on the department’s progress.

With the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, DOD has argued a key piece of its postwar strategy will be to leverage its relationships with international militaries.

And with defense budgets set to shrink dramatically over the next few decades, the U.S. military is expected to lean upon its global allies more than ever.

Janet St. Laurent, managing director of the Defense Capabilities and Management team at the Government Accountability Office, will also testify at Tuesday’s hearing.

On Thursday, House lawmakers will attempt to get to the bottom of why Air Force pilots flying the service’s F-22 Raptor suffered oxygen deprivation and other ailments while flying the fifth-generation jet.

Director of Operations at Air Combat Command Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, who led the investigation into the Raptor flight incidents, will testify, alongside members of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the NASA Engineering and Safety Center.

The issue with the Raptor has forced DOD to ground the fighter numerous times over the past few years, as Air Force officials attempted to figure out the problem.

While the service claims the issues have been resolved, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told reporters in July they were considering calling congressional hearings into the matter.

Off the Hill, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will speak at the Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

The DOD leaders will give their remarks at the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon to honor those who were killed in the terrorist attacks 11 years ago.