Congress narrowly averted the fiscal cliff – the series of deep spending cuts and tax hikes – by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on New Year's Day. While the legislation avoids sequestration, which would have caused significant slashes to the Pentagon budget, lawmakers will once again have to pick up the debate because the cuts are set to take place on March 1.

The across-the-board defense spending cuts were set to take effect on January 2, and while they have been staved off for now, the new deadline does pose some issues. Most significantly, if sequestration is enacted, the Department of Defense would have to cut as much as $63 billion from its 2013 budget but have much less time to do so.

"Every day of uncertainty over further reductions limits our ability to fight the war in Afghanistan, keep Americans free from harm at home, and prevent potential conflict abroad," Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a New Year's Day press release. "I urge both the president and Congress to act worthy of the military we have inherited, and resolve the deep threat of sequestration immediately."

Other lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were disappointed that a permanent solution to sequestration was not created, but are confident that ongoing negotiations will solve the crisis.