fiscal cliff

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, The two-month reprieve from sequestration agreed to as part of the ’€œdeal’€ to avert the fiscal cliff is a partial victory for all who worked hard to save research, giving us much-needed additional time to make our case. We need be smart in using that time well, because the delay was paid for through a combination of new revenue and spending cuts that could further drain the pool of dollars used to fund research. The fact that many conservative members of Congress expressed outrage that the fiscal cliff deal didn’€™t include larger spending cuts underscores this point. The debt ceiling will need to be raised within the next two months, adding fuel to the fire. And...
Dear Research Advocate, Since I wrote with a note of optimism last week, Speaker Boehner was unable to hold his caucus, and both houses of Congress summarily recessed. As of today they remain at a virtual standoff, with the House calling for passage of a bill to extend all tax cuts and the Senate calling for passage of a bill to let rates expire on families making more than $250,000 per year. The current 112th Congress and the White House are unlikely to come to terms on a deal this year. And now the rhetoric has changed to describing a fiscal cliff effect that isn’€™t irreparable (thus ’€œbungee jumping,’€ per a Bank of America economist), with the Administration using damage-delay...
Dear Research Advocate, Progress toward a deal to avert the fiscal cliff seems now to have been reversed, with talk today of reintroducing aspects of the Ryan budget ’€” more severe than sequestration. Holidays or not, this is no time to let up on our individual and collective advocacy for research. Reps. Fudge (D-OH) and Stivers (R-OH) are leading a bipartisan sign-on letter , urging Congress to take into account the critical importance of NIH in any deficit reduction plan. Take action and urge your representatives to sign on! For those of you in Ohio, if you would like to thank Reps. Fudge and Stivers for their efforts, you may obtain their contact information here . In addition to...
Dear Research Advocate, Are we heading over the fiscal cliff? You have probably seen the several public opinion polls saying most Americans now think it’€™s inevitable. (’€œMerry Cliftmas,’€ says Jon Stewart.) Our latest polling tracks with that of others ’€” and adds a timely insight. Just when one might least expect Americans to voluntarily increase what they owe to Uncle Sam, more than 50% say they would be willing to pay $1 more per week if they were sure the dollars would go to medical research. See this finding and more in a new poll we commissioned to take the pulse of Americans at this high-stakes time in our history. We have been asking about willingness to pay more in taxes for...
Poll Reveals Deep Concerns Among Americans about Impact of Spending Cuts to Medical Research Alexandria, Va. ’€”December 13, 2012’€”Nearly 60% of Americans are skeptical that Congress and the White House will reach an agreement that will avoid the fiscal cliff, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. More than 80% of Republicans, nearly 40% of Democrats and 65% of Independents say they are ’€œnot too confident’€ or ’€œnot at all confident’€ current negotiations will result in a deal. The findings reveal growing doubt among many Americans that Congress and the Administration will be able to make a deal that would avoid tax increases for most...
Dear Research Advocate, As our nation edges toward the fiscal cliff, the White House and House Republican leadership have been trading offers. The most recent Republican plan includes additional cuts to discretionary spending ’€” another $300 billion. These newly proposed discretionary cuts are significantly less than the across-the-board approach of sequestration, but suggest that ’€” absent a strong shift in the winds ’€” more discretionary spending cuts will be part of any final, compromise plan. It is highly unlikely that any final plan will be hammered out until next year; the president indicated as much in remarks he made Tuesday. The best guess is that policy makers will coalesce...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress is back and there is talk of more stalemate, with support wavering for a deal to avert the fiscal cliff before the end of the year. Speaker John Boehner said early today that ’€œno substantive progress has been made’€ on negotiations. Amazingly, inaction (going over the cliff) remains a possibility. The more likely scenario is a short-term fix that leaves the major decisions in the hands of the next Congress. In the midst of behind-the-scenes negotiations between congressional leadership and the White House, appropriators are talking about finalizing their bills before the end of the lame-duck session rather than waiting to revisit the current continuing...
Dear Research Advocate, By far the most expensive, and arguably one of the most divisive, election seasons in history is behind us. A lot of money was spent to find out that Americans continue to hold divergent views on many issues. We heard very little about research during the election because, in most ways, it is not a divisive issue; support is both bipartisan and grounded in common sense. The problem is that it can be taken too much for granted. At a time when Americans are looking for an end to standoff politics and want action on things we can feel good about as a nation, prioritizing research for health can be the perfect healing issue ’€” something we can all be proud of. But let...
Research, Industry, Academic and Patient Groups Join Forces for Week of Advocacy to Save Research, November 12-16, 2012 WASHINGTON ’€“ November 1, 2012 ’€“ Research!America, along with several dozen patient, industry, academic and health organizations, has coordinated a Week of Advocacy to Save Research for the week of November 12-16, 2012. The unified campaign is intended to convince policy makers to champion medical innovation, rather than undercut it, as decisions are made to address the ’€œfiscal cliff.’€ The campaign ’€” We Need Cures, Not Cuts ’€”is designed to raise awareness about the importance of making biomedical and health research a higher national priority. The campaign will...

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana