White House Misses Own Deadline, Cuts Embassy Security

by Betsy Woodruff

For the uninitiated, here’s a new term to add to your political lexicon: “Friday news dump,” which refers to the release of unpleasant information right before the weekend, when most of us are (understandably) more interested in the Saturday afternoon weather report than the latest in geopolitics.

One of said dumps happened three days ago, when the White House released its report on the specific effects of sequestration, the automatic cuts, most controversially to the defense budget, which are set to kick in in January because the members of the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (read: supercommittee) couldn’t figure out how to save money from anywhere else.

And here’s something interesting from that report: Sequestration will cut $129 million from “Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance,” according to the report. Kind of a bummer, given that the U.S. might have some embassy construction projects to work on over the next few months.

Also worth noting: The White House missed its self-imposed deadline for releasing this information. The Sequestration Transparency Act, which the president signed into law, gave him 30 days to detail how the cuts would be made. So when the 30-day mark came and went sans report, Republican congressional leaders were a bit perturbed — Senator John Thune said that “the Obama administration seems to think it is above the law,” according to a statement.

Fortunately for the White House, there’s such a thing as Friday afternoons, and the administration can be comparatively subtle about missing deadlines, hamstringing the military, and hacking away at embassy security when it seems to need it most.

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