A bill that would make President Obama be more transparent about the looming budget sequestration passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House today.
The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, introduced in May by Republican Conference Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), passed 414-2 this afternoon as debate rages over offsetting the drastic budget cuts with raising taxes on upper-income brackets.
The sequestration, set to go into effect with the new year, mandates $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts with the failure of deficit-reduction super committee. The Defense Department must find an additional $487 billion in cuts, which analysts say will devastate military readiness.
The two “no” votes were Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
The bill requires a report from the president to Congress within 30 days on discretionary appropriations and direct spending plans for all areas touched by sequestration. Co-sponsors encouraged the Senate to take it up ASAP.
“The $1.2 trillion sequester expected to begin on January 2, 2013 is a severe and real threat to our country,” said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). “Not only will these cuts threaten our brave men and women serving in uniform’s ability to defend our national security, they will also potentially destroy up to one million jobs nationwide. With a national unemployment rate above eight percent for the past forty-one months, our national workforce cannot afford the loss of one more job due to inaction by the liberal-controlled Senate.”
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) said Congress, with its August monthlong recess around the corner, should stay in session until the cuts are addressed.
“The president – our commander in chief – has been silent on the issue. That is a complete lack of leadership,” Rigell said. “…Leadership is about looking ahead and being proactive; there’s enough time for us to come together and do what’s right.”