Automatic across-the-board spending cuts are set to strike the Pentagon and many domestic programs in March, 2013. Those cuts — postponed by the recent "fiscal cliff" deal — are the punishment for the failure of a 2011 deficit supercommittee to reach an agreement.
These across-the-board cuts would pare $85 billion from this year's budget after being delayed from Jan. 1 until March 1 and reduced by $24 billion by the recently enacted tax bill. Defense hawks are particularly upset, saying the Pentagon cuts would devastate military readiness and cause havoc in defense contracting. The cuts, called a sequester in Washington-speak, were never intended to take effect but were instead aimed at driving the two sides to a large budget bargain in order to avoid them. - AP