It got a bit lost in yesterday’s odd-news shuffle, but the lightning-speed passage of the Sequester Transparency Act takes us further along the path to an Obama reckoning on spending. Remember that Republicans have been saying, since December, that the automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts mandated by the debt deal are entirely Obama’s fault. We leave aside the fact that Republicans and Democrats caved and voted for this stuff. We zoom right by the agonizing debate over whether Republicans can give in to tax hikes if it’ll bring them spending cuts. It’s up to the president to start announcing what can be cut. From the summary:
H.R. 5872 would require the President to submit to Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act and how the required spending cuts are to be implemented. Specifically, this bill would require the president to submit a report to Congress within 30 days of enactment that includes an estimate of the sequestration percentages and amounts necessary to achieve the required reduction for each spending category.
The White House has confirmed that the president will sign this. It got 412 votes in the House; it’s not expressly partisan. But after the signature, we start the clock on a block of defense cuts that the president will own. During the DNC? During the RNC? After? The thing to remember is that Democrats, who now realize that the “grand bargain” would have been the first major entitlement spending cut since 1982, are fine with the cuts.