Budget Updates

NDD United Releases New Report on the Impact of Austerity!
This week, NDD United, a broad based coalition comprised of 3,200+ organizations released a report entitled the Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure.  This report was cosponsored by a number of organizations including AADR and tells the stories of those who’ve been impact most by Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep us healthy, safe and educated. The report is the first of its kind: a comprehensive, sector-by-sector look at what’s happening far from Washington noise, on the ground, across the country where seniors, children and families have been hurt by national budget cuts.

The report features a story from Joseph Interrante, Chief Executive Officer of the Nashville CARES program which states, “Nowhere is the impact of the cuts more severe than Nashville CARES oral health program. HIV medications have side effects such as dry mouth-a breeding ground for bacterial infections that, if left untreated, can lead to systemic infections in already immune compromised patients. In years past Nashville CARES provided $1,700 worth of dental services per patient to 700-800 patients annually, with a waiting list of 900 people. Sequestration has cut oral health services by 68 percent.”

Additionally, the report dedicates an entire chapter about the impact of sequestration on science and data.  An excerpt from this chapter states, “Federal investments in scientific research have stagnated and failed to keep pace with inflation. Furthermore, sequestration and other budget cuts to federal scientific agencies have eroded our ability to invest in the next generation of scientists to continue groundbreaking research.” Dr. Jian Liu a professor from the University of North Carolina, is featured in the report and highlighted the devastating impact cuts had on the National Institutes of Health and his research on heparin. Dr. Liu states, “It is getting more and more difficult for me to plan out into the future what my next steps in research will be. As funding gets more difficult and less reliable, I feel the pressure to do more with less. I have seen other colleagues take their research to other countries, greener pastures.”

NDD United is sharing the report with members of Congress, the White House and media outlets to bring attention to the fact that budget cuts have real consequences and cannot continue.

Click here to read the report.

Budget Conference Committee Update
Yesterday, the Budget Conference Committee met for a second time to discuss the federal budget and deficit.  Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, testified during this meeting to discuss the long term fiscal outlook, the primary stressors on our economy and the need to address the federal debt and deficit. Members of the appropriations committees pressed Chairmen Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to develop top line funding levels for fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015 as soon as possible.

Negotiations will continue during the next couple of weeks and the Budget Conference Committee is slated to release a report by Dec. 13, 2013 which will hopefully include funding levels for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 and a proposal to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

Chair of Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Calls on Advocates to “Dig Deep”

Today, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, held an inspirational meeting of Washington, DC advocates.  During this meeting he thanked the community for working on behalf of people who do not have a voice in Washington, DC.  He strongly believes that the Labor-HHS-Education community is the advocacy group that makes society better. He highlighted the impact sequestration has on children and young scientists.  He also recognized the challenges we continue to face as a result of the budget battles from many years ago.

Sen. Harkin has one message. All advocates must, “Dig down deep and come up with the resolve to work your hearts out.” He stated that we must actively engage with the House and Senate Budget Conference Committee during the next two weeks. He indicated that the majority of policymakers would like to, “do away with sequester.” Unfortunately, the way that is accomplished is still yet to be determined.

What can you do?
Please take five minutes of your time and send an email to your member of Congress by visiting the AADR legislative action center.  Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents that sequestration is devastating and needs to be replaced with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

What is AADR doing?
AADR remains actively engaged with members of Congress and continues to partner with many coalitions to ensure our voice is heard. Specific activities include:

  • AADR sent a letter to the Senate and House Budget Conference Committee highlighting the impact of sequestration on oral health research and urging them to replace it with a balanced approach.
  • AADR signed onto two additional letters circulated by the advocacy community echoing the message the sequestration should be replaced with a balanced approach.
  • AADR is a cosponsor of the soon to be released comprehensive report authored by the NDD United Coalition entitled, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure. This report tells the stories of those who’ve been impacted most by Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep us healthy, safe, and educated.
  • AADR is a cosponsor of a congressional briefing spearheaded by the NDD United Coalition. This briefing will bring together individuals featured in the report, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure, from the education, science, natural resources, and job training sectors.  This briefing will be a forum to educate members of Congress and staff about the significant impact sequestration has on non-defense discretionary funding.

Next Steps
We will keep you updated as the budget process continues to move forward. If you have any questions, please the AADR director of government affairs, Carolyn Mullen at cmullen@aadronline.org.

Federal Budget Conference Day One

On Oct. 30, the 29 House and Senate budget conferees met to begin negotiations on federal funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2014, sequestration, taxes and potential structural changes to mandatory programs. These lawmakers are charged with developing a report by Dec. 13, 2013.  The half day meeting included opening statements from members of Congress articulating their priorities for the budget conference report. Key messages from this meeting include the following:

  • According to CQ Healthbeat,“The budget negotiators made a priority of agreeing on a fiscal year 2014 funding limit that would provide ‘some sequester’ relief.” The Senate and House budget limits released earlier this year are dramatically different. The Senate proposes providing $1.058 trillion for discretionary spending whereas the House proposes $967 billion for discretionary spending and the majority of savings would be achieved by protecting defense from deep cuts at the expense of non-defense discretionary spending.  Thus, it may be challenging for the conferees to agree on a top line number.
  • Democrats are focused on a compromise plan that would include a mix of new revenue and alternative spending cuts to replace sequestration.  However, the major sticking point among the conferees is related whether to include taxes and revenue as part of the compromise.
  • Sen. Mikulski, D-Md., Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee is pushing for a two year cancellation of sequester.  The Washington Post states that conferees are focused on, “replacing a portion of the sequester for the next two years.”
  • Sen. Toomey, R-Pa., indicated that he would prefer to preserve the savings from the Budget Control Act, but is open to an alternative way to achieve those savings. He is also supportive of providing flexibility for the Administration to manage the sequester cuts.
  • Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee highlighted the harmful effects of sequestration and stressed that these cuts must be replaced. She emphasized the value and importance of funding many agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Action
On Oct. 30, AADR sent a letter signed by Dr. Christopher Fox to the budget conferees highlighting the harmful effects of sequestration on the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and oral health researchers.  AADR urged budget conferees to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.  Click here to read the letter.

What is Next?
The budget conferees will meet again on Nov. 13 at 10:00 a.m. to continue discussions.