The Budget Control Act of 2011 which raised the debt ceiling and create the super committee establishes a set of mandatory spending cuts to take effect if and when the deficit reduction group fails to reach its $1.2 trillion goal.The so-called “sequesters” would cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending over the next decade by lowering the spending caps provided by the bill beginning in 2013— with half coming from “defence function” and the rest from non-defence spending.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said before his retirement that these sequesters would “break” the military. The Department of defence already accepted hundreds of billions in budget cuts under the original spending caps, and Super Committee failure could result in an additional $600 billion in cuts.
Congress and the President would have to find ways to make the cuts as part of their annual budgets — that is unless they move to undo the triggers. President Barack Obama has said he would not agree to remove them, but did leave open the door to modifying them in some way to make the sequesters less painful to defence.
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