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Presidential Budget Focus Turns from FY 13 Sequester to FY 2015

As the effects of the March 2013 Budget Control Act sequestration are being implemented throughout the FY 2013 federal budget, the White House has released guidance that will allow government agencies to plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2014.

Sylvia Burwell, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo May 29, 2013, that instructs heads of federal departments and agencies how they should prioritize spending for their organizations.

“We have not had the regular order budgeting process that we would prefer, and I understand the compounding challenges that agencies face in continuing to provide vital services and protect mission in an environment of sequestration,” Burwell wrote. “These challenges have only increased the President’s resolve to work with Congress on . . . replacing sequestration with a balanced deficit reduction plan of additional spending cuts and sensible entitlement reforms coupled with revenue from tax reform.”

She noted that the 2014 budget included “more than enough deficit reduction to cancel sequestration and restore discretionary funding to levels legislated in the Budget Control Act.

Burwell instructs agency and departmental heads to submit a budget that includes a five-percent reduction for FY 15 below the projected total for FY15 included in their FY 14 budgets. Additionally, they should prepare to reduce further their submitted proposal for discretionary spending by an additional five percent.

Departments and agencies preparing proposals to change existing programs under mandatory spending figures must find budget-neutral ways to fund them within the FY 15 budget proposal.

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