New Report Highlights Harmful Effects of Sequestration on Behavioral & Brain Sciences

November 20, 2013

by Christine Cameron

Research funding for behavioral and brain sciences is among the devastating cuts that have occurred as a result of sequestration. A recently released, comprehensive report is the first of its kind to highlight specific details of the impact of dramatic cuts across multiple sectors. Coming just as Congress returns to debate about how to resolve our Nation’s budget crisis, the report serves as a reminder of the consequences of failing to financially support the programs that keep our citizens healthy, safe, and educated and our Nation prospering.

NDD United, an alliance of more than 3,200 national, state, and local organizations, including FABBS, released “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure.” The report details the effects of sequestration on science, as well as other sectors such as education, public health, and public safety. Scientists highlighted in the report include a graduate student in brain science who fears being pushed out of the field by decreased funding and poor job prospects, and a senior professor backed by NIH and NSF funds who is considering resigning – and also fears for the future of scientific progress.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) says of the report: “The issues discussed in this report could not be more important, for families or our future as a nation. Budgets are about choices and about values. Behind every percentage cut, there are human faces: men, women, and children whose jobs, health, and even lives are being put at risk. As this report shows, the impact to families all across America is devastating.”

Sequestration, put into effect by the Budget Control Act of 2011, established ten-year caps on how much Congress could spend on discretionary programs. As a result, according to NDD United, “by 2023 these caps will cut $1.6 trillion from defense discretionary and NDD programs combined, relative to the inflation-adjusted 2010 funding levels. Under sequestration, discretionary programs—including both defense and nondefense programs—will face more than $700 billion in cuts over the next eight years. In two years, NDD spending will equal a smaller percentage of our economy than ever before—if lawmakers do not act to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy.”

See the report (PDF):