Headache awaits Obama post election
August 7th, 2012
05:36 PM ET

Headache awaits Obama post election

(CNN) – As far as bill signings at the White House go, President Obama on Tuesday signed the Sequestration Transparency Act to little fanfare.

But the legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by a 414-2 margin last month, could prove to be a major headache for the president come late November, whether or not he is reelected.

That’s because the relatively obscure bill, initially backed by Republicans, forces the Obama administration to specifically spell out the full effect of the required $1.2 trillion cuts to domestic and defense programs if Congress doesn’t agree to a deficit-reduction plan of their own by January 2, 2013.

Should Congress fail to reach an agreement ahead of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the Budget Control Act of 2011 mandates across-the-board cuts, or “sequestration.” While the specter of sequestration has been looming for months, the extent to which certain programs will be affected remains fairly vague.

In fact, several defense contractors have recently expressed concern that they are in the dark over whether they need to prepare for significant personnel layoffs. Meanwhile, business leaders have said they are refraining from investment until the effects of sequestration, coupled with the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts, plays out.

Now, thanks to this legislation, the president himself will be put in the politically tenuous position of spelling out exactly what will be eliminated to satisfy the $1.2 trillion requirement. And, according to the Act, he must do so within 30 days - meaning a report to Congress will come due Labor Day weekend, just as the Democratic National Convention gets underway.

Republicans have said the bill is necessary because the president has failed to communicate the effects of sequestration to either the American people or the relevant agencies implicated by the potentially massive cuts.

“It is time for President Obama to level with taxpayers about the full impact of the scheduled cuts to our national defense, and join with Congress in finding alternative savings that do not jeopardize our national security,” Republican Sen. John Thune, one of the bill’s sponsors, said last month.

But during a congressional committee hearing last month, Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, suggested the bill is unnecessary.

“Should it get to a point where it appears that Congress will not do its job and the sequester may take effect, let me assure you that OMB, DoD, and the entire Administration will be prepared,” he said.

While the bill was backed entirely by Republicans, its nearly-unanimous passage all but required the president to sign it. Moreover, Sen. Patty Murray, a Democratic member of the special congressional committee assigned to find a deficit reduction compromise last summer that failed to agree to specific spending cuts then, praised the measure for ensuring that “every member of Congress and the public understands the impact of sequestration, as well as the need to replace both the defense and non defense cuts in a balanced and bipartisan way."

The White House, on the other hand, is saying little about the newly-signed measure, except for a tweet from spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

“POTUS just signed the Sequestration Transparency Act. Congress must act to avoid these devastating cuts & ask wealthiest to pay fair share,” she said in the tweet.

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Call me psychic, but I see yet more backfire in the GOPers'/Teatrolls' futures. Obama signed this into law. So, for one thing, it really looks silly to claim he wasn't willing to tell people about what sequestration will mean (really amount to Thune saying "we demagogued a bunch of really scary stuff but he won't respond to us...waaaaaaah!!!"). Second, the guy has pretty much bested the GOP/Teatrolls at every turn. Even extending the Bush tax cuts to get START passed, DADT repealed, etc., was a victory because he did it in a way that forces them to expire if nobody acts (i.e., he holds the big stick). If you think Obama signed this into law and is at all concerned that he can't meet its requirements or will somehow fall into a political trap from the GOP, think again. Even if they simply throw yet another temper tantrum and refuse to budge on anything, forcing the sequestratino to take effect, it still looks worse for them than it does for BO. They still haven't quite wrapped their tinfoil enshrouded heads around that part though.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Howard


      August 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • Antony

        You want to bet . Obama win

        August 8, 2012 at 12:41 am |
      • NJBChicago

        Antony – he'll be unemployed. He's a failure.

        August 8, 2012 at 6:50 am |
      • drake mallard

        Romney's campaign is based on the notion that because of what he did at Bain he understands the economy. It's perfectly reasonable to examine what his experience at Bain really taught him. After all, Bain wasn't in the business of creating jobs, it was in the business of making money

        The high unemployement is due to people like romney out sourcing. that's why middle class Americans are suffering so much.

        August 8, 2012 at 8:58 am |
      • Dan

        Drake: Every company is in the business of making money. Outsourcing though ending jobs in the immediate sense frees up capital and labor in order to place it in more effective places. Though protectionists rail against it for the former offense, they rarely ever see or understand the latter part of outsourcing which in the end helps to improve the economy and increase efficiency.

        August 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • jbs

        Howard, your a mean sick person.........

        August 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Toby McDooogan

      I agree with Sniffit that Obama is a total falure and has zero leadership ability. But give him credit for being a good speaker when he stays on script.

      August 8, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • Howard

        Obama will do anything to hold onto power ... even if its harmful to America. It's time for Americans to choose between Obama and America. It should be an easy choice, since American is MUCH more important than Obama.

        August 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • Troy in Austin

        Listen to Rush much? Ya Simp!

        August 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • usa

      ppl like you are sad, do you have any idea what the consequences are if we cut are defense...you do understand that the soldiers that fight for this country will also lose there pay...as well as our countries securities they will also be cut...obama is a failure, he has failed everybody in this country, especially our soldiers...i can only hope that ppl like you wake up right before the sh!t hits the fan...

      August 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Troy in Austin

        I do, thats what they did in 91 after the Gulf war! It will HAVE to be done 14 Trill. is toooo much for us to sustain.

        August 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Oakspar

      Why does it need to be a GOP/Teaparty trap? It was voted for by everyone, since it is about open government – which is a good thing agreed to by all.

      That you would jump to assuming something so bi-partisen is a partisen trick is implying that you believe all the Democrates in congress and the adminstration are idiots who would sign into such a trick.

      The purpose of the bill was to create political pressure to roll back sequestion (the dem's objective) and protect defense spending (the rep's objective).

      This will be a headache – but only in buerocratic workload for the accounting stiffs who have to actually crunch numbers and produce documents to define the sequestation.

      August 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  2. Dann DFW

    Leave it to Congress to have to extort itself to do its job.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    Typical Repug legislation.. ensure it can be labeled as being the fault of the Dem's if it doesn't work out. It's hilarious to watch them squirm over the upcoming fiscal cliff- the cliff they forced the Dem's into a deal on to get the debt ceiling raised.
    Oh the back-pedaling, now that they realize exactly how much havoc their hasty rush to appease the Teapugs will have on budget and (wait for it) the "trickle-down" impact on the economy. Wouldn't be good politics to have to own up to the SECOND major recession in 5 years. How's that feel Repugs ?

    August 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Steveo

      "But the legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by a 414-2 margin last month"
      You realize the Senate is Dem majority, right? ALL the Dems in the Senate voted for this bill, ALL of them!. Now you're saying this is some type of GOP trickery? If that is what you're saying, you are also saying Reid and the other Senate Dems are not smart enough

      August 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  4. Frank Marshall Davis

    Obama will do what he usually does, lie and point a finger elsewhere.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  5. Angus

    Transparancy?!?!?!?!? No one knows who Obama really is and no one cares to find out!!!!

    I love the media.

    Media 2012!!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Cynthia L.

      @Angus – Maybe you could give us a clue why you never show up at the Republican's Beef Lovers BBQ.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
      • keann

        Why do you feel the need to denigrate a person instead of offering an intelligent comment?

        August 8, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  6. jon

    Why doesnt Obama give us this before the election ... what is he trying to hide?

    August 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • griffbos

      hr isn't hiding anything, fact is Congress has had proposed tax cuts on the table for over a year now, the President only can propose it is up to the House to put a budget together and for the Senate to then agreee or make changes, what they have done instead is pass contiued spending bills based on the last Bush budget , the Simpson/Bowles federal reduction proposal is still there for the House to pass now before the election to stop the fiscal cliff, yet they have not................

      August 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • keann

        The Pres plan went down in flames with 0 for in the Senate. The Senate continues to sit on any plans – jobs, budget, energy – don't blame the House – ask Harry what he is afraid of by bringing all plans to the floor

        August 8, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Erk

      What is the Obama administration trying to hide? Can't be anything more than what the GOP is trying hiding. Of all things being cut in 2013 the only thing the GOP is pissing their britches over is the cut to defense. After all, if we cut "defense spending" how can we effectively bomb / invade a country on the GOP hit list like Iran? In the end Democrats are no more America's saviors anymore than Mitt and the repubs!

      August 8, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Wyze Wun

      Did you read the article at all?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  7. jon

    It is funny how the liberal paid bloggers are attempting to paint this as a Republican vs Democrat issue. THe bill was bi-partisan, and Obama signed it. What we need now is for Obama to set up and tell us what cuts he intends to make. The only reason he won't is because he has something to hide.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • flawlessshine

      As a political operative Jon, you should know smart individuals don't bite for your baited folley as you had hoped in your wettest dream. If Repulicans come to the table and act sensible and remove all their corprate welfare and back door deals American taxpayers will be all the betters for it – and then there is NOT sequestration. Get it ?

      August 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • jack johnson

      He has it hid with Romney's tax returns, and like Romney said you don't need to see them NOW.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Lookwhoistalking

      Jon, you are an idiot. You know all of this could have been avoided by just simply agreeing to raise the "Debt Ceiling" like they do every year to pay for what they already borrowed, like stolen funds to finance two unpaid for wars. This whole mess that we are in is due to the republican party's attempt to destroy President Obama's presidency. But Obama is like Bugs Bunny and the Republican leadership is like Elmer Fudd they are forever trying to out smart the master but to no avail. Stick it!

      August 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
      • NJBChicago

        Bugs Bunny is an idiot.

        August 8, 2012 at 6:49 am |
      • keann

        nice comeback, "Jon you are an idiot". The only thing destroying Pres Obama are his policies. Are you better off now than 4 yrs ago or even 4 wks ago? Wages are lower, college tuition, healthcare, filling your gas tank, paying your elec bill are more expensive and your home is worth less – this Pres has enacted 134 Executive Orders – have any of them made you better off?

        August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Ray E. (Georgia)

        Lookwhostalking, Can't you see the Republicians and Conservatives don't want to raise the National Debt The Country is borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar they are spending. The Liberals have left the country a mess that may never be fixed. Guess who is going to be left with the bill? Headache? And to think some of you want to extend this for another 4 years. Let me put it this way. Obama got his Education in Vaudville. He keeps repeating the same Mantra. WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAINS, WE WILL GO PLACES. You got any money??

        August 8, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • diane

        The *I refuse* litany Obama laid down in his convention speech tells you exactly who the obstructionist is. People who pay taxes are not biting the bait this year. I'm almost sixty and found a job three weeks ago...nothing gauranteed, just a commission. That's the democratic party's problem.. No one will pay your way out of this mess. How can you trust a man who can't get his work done in time? You don't. Relax. Go to work, and tell the President to do the same the next time he promises you *transparency* or someone else's money.

        September 8, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  8. flawlessshine

    The meat and potatoes of essential defense contrators know who the are. If one reads the GOP House version of the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2013... it reads likea super bonus club for corporate welfare. Taxpayers sponsoring NASCAR is too much to stomach! Read the bill full text and the corporate welfare amendments here – http://goo.gl/GSPQZ

    August 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  9. flawlessshine

    The meat and potatoes of essential defense contractors know who the are. If one reads the GOP House version of the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2013... it reads like a super bonus bonanza club for corporate welfare. Taxpayers sponsoring NASCAR is just too much to stomach! Read the bill full text and the corporate welfare amendments here – http://goo.gl/GSPQZ

    August 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  10. Suppress the military vote!

    Greatest idea the administration has ever had! Everyone knows the military votes republican. They should eliminate the military's right to vote altogether–then they will surely win the election!

    August 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  11. rosaadriana

    IT will be a headache for everyone but the boys cant play nice and get anything done. BOTH sides need to compromise. And no that doesn't mean one side caving into the other.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  12. Andrew Allison

    The missing hypen aside, wouldn't you say that, "Headache awaits Obama post election" is just a tad presumptuous?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  13. Dee

    Hold their paycheck and health insurance since they can't do the work of the american people if we left our job without completeing our work we would be fired.


    August 8, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • NJBChicago

      Our President signed it. He bought it, he owns it, he is responsible for it. Diverting to Mitt Romney's taxes WILL NOT COVER UP THE FACT THAT THIS PRESIDENT FAILED here. He failed to bring people together, he failed to COMPROMISE to get something done and he has FAILED at addressing our debt. Now that he has FAILED, he has to pay the consequence. Sad part is, he'll get voted out and Romney will have to mop up his mess. Maybe not so sad. Romney is much better suited to turn his failures around. Obama will just continue to beat us into the ground if re elected. Romney's taxes have nothing to do with this President's failure. Get off the talking point and onto what's important. Our future. WIth Obama, it's bleak. We need a change.

      August 8, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • keann

      Although the Pres and WH has refused to comment on dirty Harry's lie about Romney taxes – the Pres has expedited 7 Renewable Energy Programs in Nevada, Harry Reids'home state. Can you say Pay for Play???

      August 8, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  14. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Headache awaits Obama post election

    LOL !!! LOL !!!!!!

    " "I" will cut the deficit in half. "
    LOL !!! LOL !!!!!!

    But... But... What about...
    NO work required !!!

    Full speed over the cliff !!!

    August 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  15. JS in CT

    Here is my economic plan:
    Let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone. Freeze spending (except for infrastructure and research/education, see below). So as to avoid a "fiscal cliff" and provide a stimulus, you adopt a 5 yr formula of what you do with the money from the expired Bush tax cuts: yr 1- 80% infrastructure, 20% deficit reduction; yr 2, 60% infrastructure, 40% deficit reduction; yr 3, 40% infrastructure, 60% deficit reduction; yr 4, 20% infrastructure, 80% deficit reduction; yr 5- 10% infrastructure, 90% deficit reduction. Any additional revenue from increased employment, decreased unemployment payments, or economic stimulus, should go into scientific research (NIH, NSF) and education. This plan will put us on a path to long range deficit reduction, finally improve our aging infrastructure, and provide an economic stimulus.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  16. Troy in Austin

    What is the problem? Cut all of it! Congress won't get off their collective ass, so let it go! The President can't be blamed for it. The tea baggers are the ones who have split the country in half, made Congress useless. Congress allowed Bushie boy to run our economy off the cliff, with false wars and no jobs bill. When Obama IS re-elected I hope he hands them their heads on a platter! Obama 2012!

    August 8, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  17. Mike Texoma

    I am sure there have been many hours pouring over the governments bills and evaluating the government's programs, and the President's office knows pretty much what it would have to cut and what it would not. Now, in the interest of "transparency" the president is required to make his plan public. I do not know how much of a free hand he has in making these decisions. But much may depend upon which side of the aisle is going to take the most blame associated with the cuts. I expect both sides will pay a heavy price, but if I were the president I would make the starve the beast people pay most dearly. And to the starve the beast crowd I would say be careful of what you want, you may get it.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. Wyze Wun

    Am I reading a different article or didn't this say the President signed it into law? Why all the madness here? Both Democrats and Republicans voted for it meaning they both have something to gain from it. Whatever they have in plan will eventually play out in a few weeks or so... no matter how much hate you spew here it won't impede what the deaf congress will do.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  19. judy

    hopefully we will vote a lot of the repos out of office. Forward 2012 Better President Obama than mitt the twitt anyday.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Lizzie

      So tell us what is your FAIR share on income tax

      August 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  20. JS in CT

    This is my economic plan:
    Let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone. Freeze spending (except for infrastructure and research/education, see below). So as to avoid a "fiscal cliff" and provide a stimulus, you adopt a 5 yr formula of what you do with the money from the expired Bush tax cuts: yr 1- 80% infrastructure, 20% deficit reduction; yr 2, 60% infrastructure, 40% deficit reduction; yr 3, 40% infrastructure, 60% deficit reduction; yr 4, 20% infrastructure, 80% deficit reduction; yr 5- 10% infrastructure, 90% deficit reduction. Any additional revenue from increased employment, decreased unemployment payments, or economic stimulus, should go into scientific research (NIH, NSF) and education. This plan will put us on a path to long range deficit reduction, finally improve our aging infrastructure, and provide an economic stimulus.

    August 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  21. Lizzie

    “$347.1 Billion”
    – Cost of interest payments on money borrowed for the 2009 Obama stimulus, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

    August 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  22. mikle

    Harry Read make his money to be a pimp in Las Vegas. I want him come clean with American people and tell when he going to stop this.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  23. mikle

    Obama dirt on Romney don't have line. I never see anything like that. H. Clinton has it " shame on ,you Obama.

    August 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  24. edmundburkeson

    Obama should change his campaign slogan from Forward to Going Nowhere. If he gets elected another four years that is exactly where he will go. Given his unrelenting charm for diviiding people over issues that are even insignificant the country will go nowhere for 4 more years. He is not a uniter to say the least. Given that Republicans will likely win the Senate and the Congress, Obama will be unable to move on anything. Let's save ourselves and Obama the headache of another 4 years of bad leadership. Throw the bum out!

    August 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • mikle

      10% AGREE>

      August 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Troy in Austin

      He has done well with what he had to go through. How will Romney be any better with the Senate being more Dems? It won't be, accept that we will be in the same hole as we were with "W"!

      August 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  25. Daniel Gallardo

    Being almost 60 now and having lived through the the latter half of the last century and now into the second decade of this century, I think I have seen some fairly remarkable people elected to public office. Never before has so much attention on irrelevent issues like legally filed tax returns or school transcripts been beat into the ground and offered up as the central issues and such of a candidates qualifications to hold office. I wish I had off shore accounts or possibly even had a chance to attend an Ivy league college paid for by student aid grants.I don't care about this type of BS. I want to see real action on defense cuts, a real investment in rebuilding OUR infastructure, a reduction in entitlements and welfare. We need to care for this of nation. I don't feel a great need to take care of anyone other than my family. If the government wishes to take care of others, do so but don't make me feel like its duty to ensure others are given a life style of dependence. I have two words for that school of thought. I think it comes to a choice between a dreamer and a doer. This country needs both but at this point I think we need a little less of what could be and more of what we do need. I will hold my nose and vote for Romney because quite frankly Obama hasn't shown me too much and his message of me being my brothers keeper is lost on me

    August 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Troy in Austin

      If you want defense cuts and building infrastructure, you better not vote Mittens! He will do the opposite!

      August 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

      OK Grandpa Dan...YOU my friend are an IDIOT! All the freedoms YOU have enjoyed are compliments of OUR DoD...have fun taking care of your "family" in a proven FAILED concept of Obooboo's European socialist model. You want it all about you and to he11 with your neighbor! Do me a favor DON'T Vote...

      September 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  26. Blind Change

    FInal Gallup poll before 2008 general election 10/31/2008
    Obama 53 McCain 40
    Actual results
    Obama 53 McCain 47

    Latest Gallup Tracking poll 08/07/2012
    Obama 46 Romney 46
    So prediction can be made for actual 2012 general election results
    Obama ~46 Romney ~54

    August 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  27. iowaboy

    What a mess he will "inherit" from himself.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  28. Robbin Goal

    Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic however , I'd figured I'd ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way! Robbin Goal http://www.robinhoodchina.info

    January 31, 2013 at 5:15 am |