Hagel Appears Confused About Sequestration, Budget Control Act


Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel appeared to confuse the relationship between the sequester and the Budget Control Act during the second round of his Senate confirmation hearing.

Asked by Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) to explain his comment that the Pentagon was “bloated” in response to a question about sequestration in a Financial Times interview, Hagel appeared to argue sequestration was separate from the Budget Control Act:

HAGEL: Senator, thank you. There are a lot of pieces and I know we have time issues. Let me start this way. First, on the comments I made in the Financial Times interview, again, as I addressed that today, that was an extensive interview about a lot of things. I was three weeks off.

SEN. BLUNT: Well, you were after the sequestration bill had passed, though, so you were talking about–

HAGEL: Not sequestration, but the Budget Control Act.

SEN. BLUNT: But that’s–they were talking about what will would happen if you take these cuts–

HAGEL: That’s what I was talking about. But the Budget Control Act was passed, that was implemented a few months later, which I agreed with and obviously, the majority of the Congress did, as well, trying to find $1 trillion in savings and $400 billion is coming out of DOD for the next 10 years.

As the Washington Post’s Suzy Khimm explained in a guide to the sequester:

What is the sequester?

It’s a package of automatic spending cuts that’s part of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011.