Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 19   Issue 29 - September 17, 2012


The 394-page report on the impact of sequestration was released last Friday by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. It was required under the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-155) and gives states a bird’s eye view of exempt and nonexempt accounts, an estimate of program-by-program funding reductions, and an explanation of how reductions will be calculated. Overall, it estimates discretionary defense spending would be reduced in FY 2013 by $54.7 billion, domestic nondefense spending by $43.6 billion (which includes nonexempt state-federal mandatory, entitlement and discretionary accounts) and Medicare and other health programs by $11.1 billion. The report states that sequestration would reduce funding for:

  • education grants, including special education
  • law enforcement personnel
  • food inspections
  • air traffic safety operations
  • health research
  • air and water protection
  • some housing and food assistance programs for low-income families.

Like most of the debate swirling around in the nation’s capital, the report concludes that “sequestration is not the responsible way to do deficit reduction. … is deeply destructive … is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument.” The administration recommends instead a “balanced and comprehensive plan” that includes discretionary spending cuts, tax reform, revenue adjustments, and reform of entitlement and mandatory programs. The House has offered their own deficit reduction proposals, most notably House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, which include changes to entitlement programs and revenue neutral tax reform. The full report is available here: NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


Less than two weeks remain before the 2008 farm bill expires, yet Congress appears no closer to an agreement. Although the Senate has approved its version of the farm bill, the House has yet to act on legislation approved by the House Agriculture Committee. House leaders’ efforts at finding support for a short-term extension appeared to have stalled. “There’s not going to be an extension,” noted ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (Minn.) on Friday. Despite the deadline, some programs in the farm bill, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and certain conservation programs, would continue. NCSL staff contacts: Ben Husch (farm bill), Sheri Steisel, Emily Wengrovius (nutrition programs) 


Looking for help in understanding the municipal securities (bond) market as it relates to state and local governments? If so, go to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s web page to find the free Electronic Municipal Market Access toolkit. Once there, you can export data on bond trading activity, and price and yield analyses across state and local governments. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted several cases with implications for state and local governments. Get a preview of the Court's upcoming term through a webinar on Oct. 17 offered by the State and Local Legal Center. Reserve a space at NCSL staff contact; Susan Parnas Frederick, SLLC contact: Lisa Soronen


The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this Thursday, Sept. 20, on legislation to “disapprove” of an Obama administration’s rule to expand waivers for states in meeting work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. H.J. Res 118 invokes a rarely-used congressional mechanism that allows fast-track up or down votes on executive branch regulations. A similar resolution, S.J. Res. 50, has been introduced in the Senate. … Don’t let election season distract you from NCSL’s Fall Forum in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5-7. To register (early bird rates go through Nov. 1) or view a preliminary agenda, visit NCSL’s Fall Forum page at,122,920.