OMB: Fiscal 2013 proposals should highlight 5%, 10% cuts
In an Aug. 17 memo (.pdf), Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew instructed agencies to include in fiscal 2013 budget requests, due Sept. 12, at least 5 percent cuts to fiscal 2011's discretionary spending and a broader cut that would put fiscal 2013 proposals 10 percent below agencies' 2011 spending level.
"Your 2013 budget submission to OMB should provide options to support the president's commitment to cut waste and reorder priorities to achieve deficit reduction," wrote Lew.
In an Aug. 18 blog post Lew sought to clarify the 5 percent and 10 percent cuts required by agencies.
"We asked agencies to provide budgets based on two scenarios: a 5 percent cut and a 10 percent cut from the 2011 enacted discretionary level," explained Lew. "This does not mean that we will institute either a 5 percent or 10 percent cut in an individual agency's budget or in all agency budgets."
"We asked agencies to provide these two options so that the president can have the information needed to make the tough choices necessary to meet the hard spending targets put in place by the Budget Control Act," wrote Lew in the blog post.
The OMB memo discouraged agencies from proposing across-the-board reductions, creating workarounds by reclassifying discretionary spending as mandatory or increasing fees to offset expenses.
The memo also asks agencies to highlight "priority add-backs" with their fiscal 2013 requests. It also requires agencies to identify programs they will "double down on" because they enhance economic growth.