Congress structured the first round of budget cuts — almost $1 trillion worth over 10 tears — by dividing them into security and nonsecurity spending.
In fiscal 2012, which starts in October, security spending would be capped at about $684 billion, roughly $5 billion less than current year spending.
The State Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Homeland Security are included alongside the Pentagon budget in that total. Some analysts predict the State Department and Homeland Security will be gouged to protect Pentagon spending.
He said the deal is “designed to protect defense spending, including pork-barrel projects.” Lawmakers backing the Defense Department “hope they can dump the pain on [the] other agencies,” he said.
“The VA is politically protected” because the agency provides services to American veterans, Mr. Friedman added.
Congressional officials told The Washington Times that the State Department and Homeland Security would likely be hit the hardest next year because of spending increases already built into their budgets.
At Homeland Security, those cuts could include funding for 1,000 extra Border Patrol agents hired in the last year, pay increases for the Coast Guard, and Secret Service expenses for the protection of presidential candidates in next year’s campaign.
VA medical care costs also are expected to rise by $2 billion, putting more pressure on the nondefense agencies portion of the security budget.
“Belts will be tightened all around, and Homeland Security will take some hits,” said a former senior Homeland Security official. “Only time will tell if these cuts are well-considered or, in effect, throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
The deal, which the president signed into law Tuesday, calls for cuts of $917 billion in spending over the next 10 years and establishes a special congressional committee to find another $1.5 trillion in savings.
The committee must report by late November, and Congress must act on its proposals by Christmas. If the committee fails to adopt cuts or Congress rejects its recommendations, automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion would be triggered instead. Those cuts would be split equally between security and nonsecurity spending.
“How deep security cuts will be and how vicious the attendant zero-sum games wind up being will be a function of what the ‘Supercommittee’ is able to come up with and whether the ‘triggers’ are pulled,” said the former Homeland Security official.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Viewing and reviewing the Los Angeles experimental and classic punk scene with a nod to Rodney's English Disco
What does the middle-class conservative think about everything? Find out here.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc