Advocacy Community Forms Coalition to Oppose Mandatory Budget Cuts

Advocacy Community Forms Coalition to Oppose Mandatory Budget Cuts

Legislative Update
June 4, 2012

On June 4, NAEVR participated in the first meeting of the Nondefense Discretionary (NDD) Coalition, a group formed to oppose mandatory budget cuts and to ensure that nondefense discretionary spending does not bear the full burden of sequestration. As background, the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over ten years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and NDD programs. The law also directed a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of this bipartisan “Super Committee” to come to agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a sequester to take effect on January 2, 2013.

The NDD Coalition is currently seeking organizations to serve as signatories on a letter to Congress urging it to avoid the sequester by passing a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.” NAEVR is a signatory and will urge its member organization to sign on.

On May 10, the House passed an expansive reconciliation package that would replace scheduled defense cuts with greater domestic spending reductions. The Senate currently does not have a plan to address the sequester.

On April 16, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) released its estimate of the impact of potential budget cuts on the NIH. Although the CBO has estimated cuts to NDD at 8.4 percent (up from its initial 7.8 percent), FASEB has estimated that cuts to the NIH extramural research program could be as high as 11.1 percent, due to spending categories exempt from cuts in other agencies as well as within NIH. For NIH, the cut would be to its FY 2013 appropriation, on which Congress is currently working.

The sequester is just one of several issues that Congress must address by January 2013, including various income and payroll tax cuts, expiration of emergency unemployment insurance, and Medicare physician cuts.