Budget Control Act

Research!America is hosting a digital advocacy initiative on September 11–12 to urge Congress to #RaisetheCaps during negotiations of the FY18 budget. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) established austerity-level federal spending, and in FY18 the sequestration budget caps or automatic spending cuts for federal agencies will be back in full force. This will tie policymakers’ hands and stall major projects ranging from supercomputers to biohazard labs that researchers need to effectively prevent emerging epidemics, develop the next generation of super materials, and find the links between genes and disease. It is crucial that advocates raise their voices now and convince Congress to #...
Dear Research Advocate, House leaders will likely act soon after the July 4 recess to pass an FY18 budget resolution. No word on when the Senate might act. Reportedly, the House budget resolution would instruct appropriators to spend more on defense than in FY17, significantly more, in fact, than is allowed under the defense “sequestration cap” established by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). In contrast, non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending would be limited to a level at least $5 billion below the NDD budget cap. This increase in defense and decrease in NDD spending is actually more “moderate” than the $54 billion reallocation proposed in the president’s budget. And neither the...
Dear Research Advocate: Although Congress officially returns next week, many Members are back in Washington as the debate about the crisis in Syria commands center stage. Members also face looming fiscal deadlines, with only nine legislative days scheduled in September to act on those and a large backlog of other legislation. Given all this, it is not hard to predict how Congress will handle the long- or short-term budget resolutions, debt ceiling, the future of sequestration, tax and entitlement reform, and a myriad of other interconnected items: They will put off decision-making. Thus a continuing resolution (“CR”), extending FY13 budgets, looks likely, once again kicking the can down the...
Dear Research Advocate: Although Congress officially returns next week, many Members are back in Washington as the debate about the crisis in Syria commands center stage. Members also face looming fiscal deadlines, with only nine legislative days scheduled in September to act on those and a large backlog of other legislation. Given all this, it is not hard to predict how Congress will handle the long- or short-term budget resolutions, debt ceiling, the future of sequestration, tax and entitlement reform, and a myriad of other interconnected items: They will put off decision-making. Thus a continuing resolution (“CR”), extending FY13 budgets, looks likely, once again kicking the can down the...
Dear Research Advocate, Sequestration is barreling down on us. With the clock ticking to March 1, there are disturbing indications that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are prepared to let sequestration move forward. It sounds much too painless to make cuts to a category called ’€œdiscretionary’€ ’€” the very word invites belt-tightening ’€” not to mention that this blanket term masks the importance of the programs that would again be damaged (the Budget Control Act took the first swipe at them, and the fiscal cliff agreement, the second). We need to unleash the power of advocacy to put human faces on the rhetoric. We know the reasons research can’€™t be cut without severe...
Dear Research Advocate, In last week’€™s letter, I highlighted research-related themes in the Republican National Platform. The good news included explicit support for basic and applied research and a pledge to make the R&D tax credit permanent. The bad news included strident criticism of FDA ’€” such that support for adequate funding was unclear ’€” and opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The Democratic platform asserts that Democrats will ’€œdouble funding for key basic research agencies.’€ It also goes further than the Republican platform in improving the research and development tax credit and places a very strong emphasis on science education as critical to our innovation...

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Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco