But budget experts say some nuances within the law do give the administration some room to maneuver, though they acknowledge it is limited.

For example, the administration has broad authority to define “program, project and activity,” according to Barry Anderson, a former budget official under President George H.W. Bush. He said this would allow it some flexibility in making cuts.

OMB said Friday that it will be issuing the sequester order on the account level and agencies will determine the program, project and activity definition.

“The thousands of PPAs government-wide change every year based on the appropriations acts, reports, and president’s budget, so there is no single, static list,” an official said.