Members of the oral health research community are strongly encouraged to register today for the AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, which will take place on April 17, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration closes this Friday, March 29. The one-day program will begin with a morning session that features an update on the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research from its Director, Dr. Martha Somerman, as well as remarks from some key Members of Congress. The afternoon portion of the event will include participant visits with their Members of Congress.
The need for AADR member participation in Advocacy Day has increased in recent days. On March 1st, a budget sequestration order was issued, which set severe reductions to federal agencies into motion. NIH will lose $1.6 billion as a result of the action; driving its historically low grant success rate further down. NIH/NIDCR grantees, as well as those supported by other federal research agencies, should expect to be directly impacted by the budget sequestration order. In the next several weeks, a flurry of proposals will be offered to undue the impacts of sequestration for certain communities. If federal investments in oral health research are to be preserved this year, it is imperative that each Member of Congress hear directly from their constituents who are training and/or working within the field. Face-to-face meetings provide the best opportunities to impact the budget development process.
Registration is complimentary! To register, email your RSVP to AADR Director of Government Affairs Jonathan Nurse at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional details can also be found at: www.aadronline.org/AdvocacyDay. If you have already registered for Advocacy Day, please accept our sincere thanks and expect to receive additional information in the days ahead.
The across-the-board cuts to federal agencies and programs are here. Whether the cuts are here to stay partly depends on how engaged the public is in the days ahead. The White House has called on Americans to voice their concerns to their Members of Congress. Additionally, as the budget sequester begins to be implemented and impacts become more clear, the White House would like individuals to share their stories. The White House has created a webpage where individuals can provide details on how the budget sequester has touched their lives.
Share your story with the White House.
President Obama signs the Budget Control Act of 2011
With a sequester of the federal budget now a reality, some are asking: “How did we get here?” Neither the White House nor Congress are accepting attribution for the idea.
Budget sequestration stems back to the US debt-ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011. At the time, there was a fierce debate over the ability of the federal government to borrow additional money to pay its bills. The term “debt ceiling” refers to the government’s legal borrowing limit. At the time, the debt limit of 14.29 trillion dollars had been reached. The government faced an August 3rd, 2011 default on its obligations, if it not allowed to borrow additional capital. With just days to spare, Democrats and Republicans reached a deal known as the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The legislation raised the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts to reduce the deficit. The BCA put in place spending cuts for a period of ten years (2012-2021), for a total of 2.4 trillion dollars; 1.5 trillion dollars of the total was to come from discretionary spending, half of which was of the non-defense discretionary (NDD) category. As a result, NDD spending was set on a course to fall to its lowest level on record, as a share of GDP, with data going back to 1962. Continue reading
President Obama delivers latest plea for a budget deal
Today, AADR joined other groups — representing communities impacted by the across-the-board cuts scheduled to take place next Friday — at the White House to hear from the President on the imminent budget crisis. President Obama, with first-responders standing close behind, listed some of the many detrimental consequences of a sequester of the budget. He stated that the scheduled cuts would eviscerate federal programs in education and medical research, as well as result in lost jobs for emergency responders, and decrease military readiness. The President called on Congress to — at a minimum — pass a smaller package of spending reductions and tax reforms, which would delay the impact of sequestration and allow for the development of an alternative.
While the White House event did not signal any positive developments in the budget standoff, it did refocus the spotlight on the March 1st cuts, which many in Washington have come to view as inevitable. It is increasingly likely that Congress will fail to develop an alternative to sequestration by March 1st, setting the cuts into motion and possibly increasing the will of lawmakers to forge a compromise as the public begins to pay closer attention.
The White House has released a fact sheet that provides some examples of the impact that budget sequestration would have on health, education, and economic growth. Of particular note to the AADR community:
- Cuts to research and innovation: In order to compete for the jobs of the future and to ensure that the next breakthroughs to find cures for critical diseases are developed right here in America, we need to continue to lead the world in research and innovation. Most Americans with chronic diseases don’t have a day to lose, but under a sequester progress towards cures would be delayed and several thousand researchers could lose their jobs. Up to 12,000 scientists and students would also be impacted.
- NIH research: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be forced to delay or halt vital scientific projects and make hundreds of fewer research awards. Since each research award supports up to seven research positions, several thousand personnel could lose their jobs. Many projects would be difficult to pursue at reduced levels and would need to be cancelled, putting prior year investments at risk. These cuts would delay progress on the prevention of debilitating chronic conditions that are costly to society and delay development of more effective treatments for common and rare diseases affecting millions of Americans.
The health and research advocacy community is looking for compelling individual examples of how the threat of budget sequestration is already having an impact. If you have a story to share, reply to the comments link or email email@example.com.
White House Fouse Sheet: Examples of How the Sequester Would Impact Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security
Today, President Obama communicated to reporters gathered in the White House Press Briefing Room a desire to delay the impending budget sequestration until the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013). During the brief remarks he argued that the scheduled across-the-board cuts would deliver a considerable and lasting blow to the economy. The President did not stray far from his previous calls for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The approach he seeks employs an overhaul of the tax code to close loopholes for the wealthy and corporations as well as targeted spending cuts. What was new in the statement provided today included an acknowledgement that Congress would not likely achieve such a comprehensive plan in advance of the current March 1st implementation date for a sequester of the budget, and that a smaller deal will be necessary to delay sequestration for a few months. Continue reading
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is currently accepting applications for its summer 2013 Student Volunteer Program. OSTP advises the President on the impact of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Applications must be submitted by February 22nd. The online application instructions can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/about/student/.
On January 23rd, the House of Representatives passed legislation to suspend the debt ceiling until May 18th, meaning that the Treasury Department will be able to fulfill its spending obligations until then. The Senate and White House have indicated that they will go along with the House bill on the debt limit -despite reservations over the short length of the suspension. However, a budget for this year and a longer-term spending plan to avoid the approaching across-the-board cuts appears to be in even greater jeopardy, as the House majority has identified this as the battle they wish to have. Government programs, including those supporting research at NIH and NSF, are vulnerable to cuts of 5.1% of their budgets for this year and deeper cuts in the out-years. These cuts will begin in less than two month, on March 1st. The most immediate cuts will apply to the remaining budget of Fiscal Year 2013, which ends on September 30th. As a consequence, if an alternative is not developed, federal agencies will have a short and immediate window to achieve the prescribed FY13 cuts.
**2/1/13 Update** Debt Ceiling Suspension Approved by Senate, and Sent to President Obama
White House Statement on Short-Term Debt Limit Suspension
OMB Guidance to Agencies on Sequester
On New Year’s day, the Senate and House passed legislation, American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, to address the tax portion of the fiscal cliff and delay the across-the-board cuts (a.k.a. “sequester”) to federal agencies by two months.
Bush-era tax rates made permanent for 99%- The legislation permanently extends 2012 tax rates for annual income below $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
Across-the-board cuts delayed- According to the White House, “the agreement saves $24 billion, half in revenue and half from spending cuts which are divided equally between defense and non-defense, in order to delay the sequester for two months. This will give Congress time to work on a balanced plan to end the sequester permanently through a combination of additional revenue and spending cuts in a balanced manner.” Continue reading
President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner continue discussions of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. In addition to negotiating with each other, both have the challenge of selling a compromise to members of their respective parties. Late yesterday, it was reported that both sides may be close to an agreement that would avoid an early January disaster. The White House and leaders on the Hill remain split. However, signs of movement on both sides have given some hope for a deal.
Outline of Expected White House Offer Continue reading