Does Congress really need to give Obama more power over sequestration?
But one person who has some insight into the problem is a plugged-in GOP aide who has experience both on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. And, while noting that sequestration calls for cuts in all parts of the affected areas of government (discretionary spending — not the big entitlement programs), the aide notes that current law gives department heads a good deal of flexibility in spending their money. In an analysis of the situation, the aide says the best place to begin is to look at the “accounts” that make up the budgets of federal departments.
“Budget accounts can be large (National Institutes of Health, $40 billion, is one account) or small (double digit millions), but, typically they are large enough to comfortably move money around if unforeseen events occur — as they frequently do,” writes the aide.
“Three questions are of interest in this circumstance: Do the proportional cuts need to be made at a more detailed level than the account level? Can agencies still reprogram funds within accounts? And can agencies that have transfer authority still transfer funds?”