July 12, 2012

Dear Member of Congress:

There is bipartisan agreement that sequestration would be devastating to the nation. The nearly 3,000 undersigned national, state, and local organizations--representing the hundreds of millions of Americans who support and benefit from nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs--couldn't agree more. Congress and the President must work together to ensure sequestration does not take effect. We strongly urge a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, which have already done their part to reduce the deficit.

NDD programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.

NDD programs represent a small and shrinking share of the federal budget and of our overall economy. The NDD budget represented just 3.4 percent of our country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011, consistent with historical levels. Under the bi-partisan Budget Control Act, by 2021 NDD funding will decline to just 2.5 percent of GDP, the lowest level in at least 50 years.

NDD programs are not the reason behind our growing debt. In fact, even completely eliminating all NDD programs would still not balance the budget. Yet NDD programs have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts.

  • Since fiscal 2010, NDD programs have been cut by 10 percent on average, with many programs cut by as much as 50 percent.
  • By 2021, the remaining discretionary caps (2013-2021) in the bipartisan Budget Control Act will reduce NDD programs by an additional 7 percent, relative to 2012 levels.
  • If sequestration is allowed to take effect, nonexempt NDD programs will be reduced by another 8.4 percent in FY 2013.

In total, if Congress and the President fail to act, between fiscal 2010 and 2021 NDD programs will have been cut by 20 percent overall. Such indiscriminate cuts threaten the entire range of bipartisan national priorities. For example, there will be fewer scientific and technological innovations, fewer teachers in classrooms, fewer job opportunities, fewer National Park visitor hours, fewer air traffic controllers, fewer food and drug inspectors, and fewer first responders.

America's day-to-day security requires more than military might. NDD programs support our economy, drive our global competitiveness, and provide an environment where all Americans may lead healthy, productive lives. Only a balanced approach to deficit reduction can restore fiscal stability, and NDD has done its part. Please work together to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.

If you have questions about this letter, please contact Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding or Joel Packer, Executive Director of the Committee for Education Funding. An electronic copy of this letter is also available at http://publichealthfunding.org/index.php/action/campaigns/ndd_united/.

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