Attention Focuses on Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff
August 21, 2012
by Paula Skedsvold
With the signing of the Sequestration Transparency Act, the Administration signaled its agreement to prepare a detailed plan for Congress regarding how automatic cuts to defense and non-defense programs would be impacted. The plan must be submitted to Congress within 30 days, just days after the Labor Day holiday.
To date, there has been bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill that the impacts of sequestration will be severe and should be avoided. But this has not led to bipartisan agreement on a solution. The Administration itself has not focused on the specific impacts to federal programs, instead urging Congress to avoid the sequestration altogether by producing a long-term, balanced approach to deficit reduction.
It is unclear whether having the specifics in hand will lead to a bipartisan approach that will protect necessary investments in science and education, while also reducing the deficit. At a minimum, though, it will make clear what is at stake– and will do so before the November election. Estimates are that NIH could see a reduction of 700-2300 grants, while NSF could face cuts requiring a reduction of 1500 grants.
More than any specific appropriation bill, the automatic across-the-board cuts will affect science funding. Scientists need to educate themselves— and their members of Congress— about the potential impacts. Learn more and get involved!