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Federal Sequester Takes Effect

March 1, 2013

On Friday, as defined by law, President Obama signed the order that puts in place the across-the-board spending cuts more commonly known as sequestration. The $85 billion worth of immediate cuts to the federal government, initially delayed by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, will now proceed.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent the heads of federal departments and agencies a memorandum informing them that the president signed the order and that "agencies shall apply the same percentage reductions to all programs, projects, and activities within a budget account." The order is accompanied by a report from OMB to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) "that provides calculations of the amounts and percentages by which various budgetary resources are required to be reduced, and a listing of the reductions required for each non-exempt budget account."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operating division figures are listed beginning on page 24 of the OMB report, but details on grant-by-grant reductions are not available. The percentage reduction applied to nondefense discretionary funding is 5 percent; however, OMB states that "because these cuts must be achieved over only seven months instead of 12, the effective percentage reductions will be approximately 13 percent for non-exempt defense programs and 9 percent for non-exempt nondefense programs."

Find ASTHO's full coverage of the sequester on the Sequestration Fact Page.