The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has joined nearly 3,000 other organizations to urge Congress to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD [non-defense discretionary] programs.” The letter to Congress advocates for lawmakers to take action to prevent $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to take place over the next decade.

Non-defense discretionary programs include funding for the National Science Foundation and other federal science programs, education, public health, environmental conservation, foreign aid, and other non-defense programs.

The letter was signed by nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations from all fifty states representing the scientific, health, education, and public safety communities, among others. Despite the diverse interests of the groups, they share a common purpose of protecting from further cuts the core government functions that make up NDD spending.

In 2011, NDD spending represented less than one-fifth of the federal budget and 4.3 percent of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under strict discretionary caps in the bipartisan Budget Control Act, by 2021 NDD spending will decline to just 2.8 percent of GDP, the lowest level in at least 50 years. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, cuts to NDD programs will be even deeper.


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