By The Hill Staff - 09/10/12 11:18 PM EDT
The so-called sequestration, which would slash about $500 billion in defense spending, has its share of critics in both parties. Defense contractors also cry foul, unsure of how they should proceed with possible layoffs in early 2013.
Republicans in the House are scheduled to pass legislation this week that would replace the cuts in the sequester. That bill will die in the upper chamber, where Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes The Trail 2016: Digging up dirt VA chief 'deeply' regrets if Disney comment offended vets MORE (Nev.) and other Democrats have ripped the GOP for refusing to budge and raise taxes.
2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has attempted to portray the sequester as President Obama’s defense cuts. Democrats counter that influential members of both parties agreed to the sequester when they created the supercommittee, including Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win Mellman: Parsing the polls VA chief 'deeply' regrets if Disney comment offended vets MORE (R-Wis.), Romney’s running mate.
The supercommittee flopped, and unless Congress acts before the new year, defense and social programs will be cut significantly.
Many liberal Democrats say the focus on defense has been skewed.
Earlier this summer, Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (D-Iowa) said, “Some members of Congress warn that defense contracting firms will lay off employees if sequestration goes into effect ... They say nothing of the tens of thousands of teachers, police officers and other public servants in communities all across America who would also lose their jobs.”
The Office of Management and Budget later this week will detail how it would implement sequestration in a highly anticipated report, which was mandated by the Sequestration Transparency Act. That bipartisan bill was passed by Congress last month.
Some political analysts believe that sequestration will be postponed as part of an agreement to deal with the pending “fiscal cliff.” But such an accord, if it happens, won’t occur until after the elections.