Every local, state and national organization that cares about funding core government functions is urged to sign onto a letter to urge Congress to avoid the planned “sequester” by instead passing a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include additional cuts to these programs.
Next January, NDD programs face indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts of 8.4% through the sequester. The cuts will devastate housing and social services programs; medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; and international relations.
NLIHC has joined with dozens of other national organizations, representing issues across the NDD spectrum, to protect these programs from additional cuts. This sign on letter is a part of our joint effort.
View the letter here.
Sign the letter here. Sign by COB June 22, 2012.
Thank you for your participation!
What is “NDD?”
Discretionary programs differ from “entitlement” programs that are funded rather automatically to meet the needs of all who qualify for them. Discretionary programs are those that Congress funds annually through the appropriations process. Congress retains complete discretion, or choice, on whether, and at what level, to fund discretionary programs.
Nondefense discretionary, or “NDD” programs, are core functions provided for the benefit of all, including housing and social services; medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; and international relations. Every day, these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.
What is the sequester?
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over 10 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 the bi-partisan “Super Committee” to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a sequester to take effect on January 2, 2013.
To “sequester” means to set apart or to take something away until a debt has been repaid. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and nondefense—in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps.
A few discretionary programs are exempt from the sequester in the first year, such as Pell grants in the Department of Education. Some mandatory programs (e.g., Medicaid) are also exempt.
Is there really any chance Congress will change its mind about the sequester?
Yes! There already is a vocal constituency clamoring to exempt defense programs from the sequester’s reach. Of course, removing only defense programs from the sequester would place additional burden on NDD programs. Leaders of national coalitions and networks that joined together in crafting this letter believe it is critical for Congress to reverse course and work to achieve deficit reduction with a balanced approach that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.
What can my organization do?
Your organization can sign onto this letter, urging Congress to “find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.”
Your organization can also help by sharing this letter with your networks and state/local chapters. All national, state and local organizations are encouraged to sign. The more sign-ons, the bigger our impact!