The sequester cuts in one graph

September 14, 2012

The White House is out with its report detailing how it plans to implement the sequester cuts. You can read all 394-pages here.

The big ticket takeaway, however, is that there is huge variation in how the sequester effects different parts of government. Some programs will see their budgets cut by 10 percent, others by just 2 percent. All of these cuts, by the way, do not apply to any program that was specifically exempted from the sequester. Here's the breakdown.

A quick reminder of what each of these categories encompasses:

  • Non-exempt defense discretionary funding sees a 9.4 percent spending reduction. This covers things, such as keeping military bases open, paying salaries and research and development.
  • Non-exempt mandatory defense spending sees the biggest cut of 10 percent.
  • Non-exempt, non-defense discretionary funding gets cut by 8.2 percent. This includes anything that Congress has to authorize each year, so programs like Head Start and AIDS assistance.
  • Non-exempt, non-defense mandatory programs see a 7.6 percent reduction. There's not, however, much left to cut in this category because the large mandatory programs were largely shielded from the cuts. More on that right below.
  • Medicare is, well, Medicare - the health insurance program for America's seniors. The sequester specifically limited Medicare cuts to 2 percent of the program's budget.

Keep in mind, certain programs are exempt from the sequester completely. Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Social Security, for example, do not get touched at all. And within the programs listed above, there are specific, smaller programs that get carved out as untouchable too.

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Suzy Khimm | September 14, 2012