OMB Watch: WH Can Minimize Sequestration Cuts Without Lame Duck Deal

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Nonprofit research and advocacy group OMB Watch said Friday the White House and federal agencies can postpone or minimize sequestration cuts and effects even if Congress does not make a deal during the post-election lame duck session.

In a release, the organization said the government could control the rate of federal spending during the first few weeks of the year, delay the announcement of new federal contracts and grants until later in the year, redirect funds to more urgent activities early in the year and use spending options to prevent agency layoffs.

The analysis says federal agencies can manage their own finances to save money early in the year and carry those savings over to later in the year.

Some federal programs,  such as highway programs, have funds that they carry over from year-to-year that are not subject the sequester, OMB Watch said.

Under redirecting or reprogramming actions, agencies have some authority to redirect cuts within their budgets away from sensitive areas of spending to other areas that may be less sensitive in the first few weeks of the year.

Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale has said the Pentagon could reprogram funds to protect high-priority contracts if the sequester comes in.

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