The buzzword on Capitol Hill, if not on the lips of voters, has been “sequestration,” which includes mandatory cuts of more than half a trillion dollars in defense spending during the next decade if Congress can’t balance the budget by next January.
Today, the Romney/Paul camp is firmly on the side of exempting the Pentagon from the mandatory cuts, which Congress is expected to do. The Obama administration has resisted exempting the defense budget from the cuts to give them more leverage in negotiations with their Republican counterparts, analysts say.
Yet the administration is aware that the Romney campaign will likely use sequestration as a wedge issue. “Romney will try to hang sequestration around the president’s neck,” Robert Diamond, an official on the Obama reelection campaign, told Foreign Policy magazine at a preconvention fundraiser. “That is their line of national security attack. They don’t have anything else to talk about.”
The defense cuts amount to half of the automatic spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act, the compromise legislation that resolved a standoff over raising the national debt limit last summer. Congress couldn’t find a formula for offsetting those reductions and so they’re slated to hit the economy come Jan. 1.