The Secret Life of the Second Sequester
With all the attention surrounding a scheduled sequestration of federal spending on March 1, 2013, the existence of a second sequestration provision has largely gone unnoticed. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA; P.L. 112-25) incorporated certain provisions of an earlier deficit-reduction law, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (BBEDCA; P.L. 99-177). The BBEDCA, along with ensuing legislation, provided for sequestering discretionary funding provided in annual appropriations bills if that funding exceeded the spending caps allowed by law.
Under the current continuing resolution (CR) and subsequent fiscal year (FY) 2013 appropriations—namely those for disaster relief—current funding for FY 2013 exceeds the caps specified for FY 2013 under the BCA and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA; P.L. 112-240). As a result, if funding levels contained in the current CR are extended for the remainder of the year, a second sequestration could occur on March 27, 2013.