Week ahead: Sequester report tees up GOP reaction

House Republicans will have an opportunity to discuss the cuts during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on sequestration that will feature Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale and the deputies for all four service chiefs.

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That Thursday hearing will probably have a different feel than the last committee hearing on sequestration, when several Republicans got into a shouting match with acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients. Still, Republicans are likely to express their displeasure with the administration’s response to sequestration at the hearing.

Congress mandated Friday’s report from the Obama administration in an effort to pry details out of the White House on the cuts, which are set to take effect on Jan. 2.

It was the latest salvo in a battle around the edges by both Democrats and Republicans over the cuts, which would reduce defense and non-defense discretionary spending by about $55 billion each in 2013.

Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have blamed President Obama for sequestration, while Democrats argue that GOP refusal to compromise on tax increases is what’s holding up a deal to avert the cuts.

Early reaction to the report from Republicans hinted at what’s in store. “The nation deserves to know: Does President Obama truly want to cut almost 10 percent of our national defense at a time when the United States is still under attack from radical forces abroad?” House GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said in a statement Friday.

On a similar — but perhaps less partisan — note, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen will speak on the national security implications of America’s debt at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A week after protesters attacked the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on U.S.-Egyptian relations. The U.S. relationship with Egypt has become a point of contention in the aftermath of the protests and President Mohamed Morsi’s response, with Obama stating that Egypt was neither an ally nor an enemy. Some lawmakers have also suggested that U.S. aid to Egypt should be scuttled.

The Foreign Affairs hearing does not have a witness list yet, but the State Department has been invited.