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Preventing Research From Going Off the Fiscal Cliff



SIOP Joins in Sending Letter to Lawmakers Urging a “Balanced Compromise”

On December 7, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and 126 partner organizations representing U.S. science, engineering, higher education, and business—including SIOP—signed and sent a letter urging the White House and congressional leaders to strike a balanced compromise on the looming “fiscal cliff” that avoids harming critical research efforts.

Joanne Carney, director of AAAS Government Relations, recently sent a note of thanks to SIOP and other supporting organizations:

On behalf of the AAAS, I would like to thank you for your support of the multi-organization letter on the importance of federal research and development (R&D) and the impact that the sequester would have on the future of the U.S. research enterprise and our capacity to remain a competitive nation. The letter was sent to the President and the Senate/House Leadership.

Read a PDF of the letter here! The letter is
also posted on the main
AAAS website.

If automatic across-the-board “sequestration” cuts go into effect January 2, according to AAAS, the U.S. National Institutes of Health would lose $11.3 billion over 5 years for research on some of the nation’s most critical medical challenges including cancer, obesity, aging, and emerging diseases. Nondefense R&D funding has already declined by 5% in the past 2 years, AAAS adds, and sequestration cuts “significantly threaten” U.S. leadership in areas ranging from agriculture and national security to energy.

“Public research funding has helped plant the seeds that have spawned the Global Positioning System, the laser, Google, and countless other beneficial technologies in addition to medical advances that have helped save the lives of millions of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes patients among others,” the groups wrote in their letter.

“What is needed is a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not simply take an axe to discretionary federal programs without also considering the contributions of tax revenue solutions and entitlement reform in addressing the federal deficit….Our message is that a balanced plan must be one of shared contributions to a sound fiscal future, including strong support for our nation’s science and technology enterprise.”

Without an agreement, sequestration could slash total U.S. R&D investment by 8.4%—some $58 billion—over 5 years, forcing laboratory closures and layoffs and jeopardizing current and future research across the spectrum of research fields, AAAS warns.

To read more about AAAS’ effort to inform U.S. lawmakers and the public about the potentially devastating impacts of sequestration, read a full article here.