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What is the sequester?

The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending that took effect at midnight March 1, 2013. Sequestration is approximately $1 trillion in automatic cuts to federal government spending over the next decade instituted by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Half of the cuts will fall against defense spending, the other half against non-defense discretionary programs.

Where did it come from?

The sequester was originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), better known as the debt-ceiling compromise. It was intended to serve as incentive for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “Supercommittee”) to come to a deal to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If the committee had done so, and Congress had passed it by Dec. 23, 2011, then the sequester would have been averted.