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Action Alert: Ask Congress to Prevent Devastating Budget Cuts

August 17, 2012

 

Please consider signing on to a letter urging Congress to avoid a January budget sequestration, which would have dramatic negative impacts on U.S. domestic programs, including science and education. The letter, which was developed by the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), and the American Mathematical Society (AMS), asks that Congress devise a bipartisan solution to addressing the nation's debt crisis and avoid draconian cuts that will hurt the economy and the nation's future, and do nothing to stave off the fiscal crisis.

AIBS, AMS and ESA were among 3,000 organizations that signed on to a letter to Congress urging a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Now it's vitally important that Members of Congress hear from you, their constituents. To weigh in on this important issue, visit the AIBS Legislative Action Center where you will be able to personalize the letter, which will then be sent to your congressional delegation. The links below provide additional information you can use in your letter.

Background

On January 2, 2013, automatic cuts ("sequestration") will take place unless Congress and the Administration take steps to prevent them. This has to do with the national debt: nearly 1/3 of U.S. spending is borrowed and debt is set to skyrocket in the coming decades if reforms don't happen. Health care costs are the primary driver of the nation's debt.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, which will result in nearly $1 trillion in cuts spread across discretionary programs. Discretionary programs are those that Congress funds annually through the appropriations process and include both defense and non-defense programs. Non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs include medical and scientific research, education and job training, infrastructure, public safety and health, environmental protection and social services, among many others.

The Budget Control Act also directed a congressional "Super Committee" to find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. The committee failed to reach a deal, triggering the "sequester" to take effect on January 2 of next year. These cuts will be across-the-board and, assuming Congress and the White House sign a Continuing Resolution into law that would keep federal agencies funded at current, fiscal year 2012 levels, then NDD faces a cut of at least 8 percent.

Although the sequester would delay the federal debt from reaching 100 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by two years, this short extension would come at a high cost. Sequestration is projected to cost the economy over 1 million jobs in 2013 and 2014.

AIBS has prepared a short report that explains sequestration and the fiscal cliff, and details the possible impacts on research and science education.

A PowerPoint presentation on sequestration by the Bipartisan Policy Center gives additional information on this issue, including a chart that shows how states will be negatively impacted by sequestration.

A report by the Aerospace Industries Association showcases how many jobs will be lost per state (Table 3, pages 9 and 10). Please consider adding the information about your state to the letter below.

AMS, AIBS, and ESA were among 3,000 organizations that signed on to a letter urging a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Now it's vitally important that Members of Congress hear from their constituents.

Take action at http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=61759666.

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