Word: Sequestration (related words: sequester; sequestered)
Definition: A fiscal procedure rarely included in budget-related legislation that calls for automatic spending cuts to all federal discretionary and most mandatory federal spending programs, ranging from Medicare to military spending.
Used in a Sentence: “Sequestration Now in Mainstream Consciousness”
History: The Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted August 2011, authorized an increase in the federal debt ceiling in exchange for $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. This total includes $1.2 trillion in spending cuts identified by the legislation, with an additional $1.2 trillion that was to be determined by a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives known as the “Super Committee.” In the event the Super Committee failed to reach agreement, the bill created a trigger mechanism to implement spending cuts through sequestration. In November 2011, the Super Committee announced it could not reach an agreement and, as such, the scheduled sequestration would move forward in January 2013 unless Congress acted to stop it prior to December 31, 2012. To see the budgetary impact of various proposals to replace the sequester, click here for a Congressional Research Service report. Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget released a report in August on the impact of sequestration on federal agencies. For more on sequestration and the fiscal cliff, click here.