The House's current fiscal year 2018 appropriations legislation would force a $72.4 billion cut to defense spending if it is passed into law in violation of the 2011 Budget Control Act, according to a sequestration update report sent to Congress by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Meanwhile, the Senate's planned appropriations bill would drive a $2 billion cut to defense.
"While this report estimates that congressional action to date would trigger a sequestration, this does not reflect administration policy," OMB states. "This administration strongly supports restoring America's investment in defense. To ensure that our military is not rebuilt on the backs of future generations of Americans, however, the administration strongly supports fiscally responsible reductions to spending elsewhere in the Federal Budget, as outlined in the FY 2018 Budget request."
Congress has the option of repealing the BCA or lifting the spending caps, but a compromise between Republicans and Democrats has yet to emerge.
Both the House and Senate are expected to return to Washington the first week of September and will only be in session for 12 legislative days before the end of the fiscal year. The tight calendar has led many analysts to predict that FY-18 will start under a stopgap funding measure called a continuing resolution.
The legislative debate to pass an appropriations package, coupled with the looming fight over raising the debt ceiling, has prompted some in the Washington defense community to begin preparing for a possible government shutdown.