Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pentagon prepares to ask Congress for break from 'sequester'

Reuters
May2, 2013



U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a joint news conference with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at the Pentagon in Washington April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON | Wed May 1, 2013 7:14pm EDT
(Reuters) - The Pentagon is preparing to ask Congress soon for more authority to shift funds to cope with automatic spending cuts, confronting lawmakers with another exception to the "sequester" just days after they gave a break to the flying public and the airline industry.
The request may be sent to the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee as early as next week, a House Republican aide said on Wednesday.
The Pentagon won increased budget flexibility in March, but officials have told members of Congress they believe it was insufficient to cover shortfalls in training and operations.
The Defense Department move would follow closely the fix last week to ease airline flight delays caused by the temporary furloughs of air-traffic controllers by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The cuts, known as "sequestration," were originally hatched by Washington in 2011 as a way to force the White House and Congress to find an alternative budget deal rather than have spending cuts kick in automatically.
But policymakers failed to reach such a deal earlier this year and the cuts - totaling $109 billion for the current fiscal year - took effect on March 1

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