18 days until the sequester
Sequestration has always been perceived to have two sides. One side cuts defense discretionary spending while the other side cuts nondefense discretionary spending. This morning, organizations advocating on behalf of defense and NDD agencies came together for the first time to speak out against sequestration with a unified voice. The Aerospace Industries Association along with the leaders of NDD United, the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities held a press conference to announce the newfound unity between the groups.
What does this mean in our quest to avert sequestration? Defense advocacy groups have always had a loud voice on Capitol Hill so having them talk about the NDD side of things only amplifies our message. Besides, joining voices makes sense. Many in the defense community would be impacted by budget cuts at NDD agencies such as NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration. Similarly, many in the NDD community benefit from defense spending, like scientists who receive research grants from the Department of Defense.
Does this mean ASBMB is now advocating on behalf of defense spending? No. The message we have always sent is that discretionary spending has already been cut by $1.5 trillion as a step toward solving the nation’s debt problems. Sequestration would only cut discretionary spending further, and it’s time for politicians to look elsewhere for solutions. Defense advocates over the last several months have been sending a similar message. Thus, the ASBMB and larger NDD message is the same: no more cuts to NDD programs. It’s just that we have new allies in our fight.
Will anyone on Capitol Hill notice? We can always hope. Some members of Congress are very protective of the Department of Defense and are eager to pile the cuts onto NDD programs. On the other hand, some members of Congress are very critical of the Department of Defense and are eager to cut more and more from defense spending. Speaking out together is another way to remind legislators that discretionary spending has already been cut substantially; cutting more will not solve our nation’s debt problems, and legislators, regardless of how eager they are to cut or preserve their pet programs, should find solutions in other portions of the budget.
For up-to-the minute information, follow me (@ChrisPickett5), ASBMB Director of Public Affairs Ben Corb (@bwcorb) and the leaders of NDD United (@healthfunding) on Twitter. You can also search for these discussions using the hashtags #NDDUnited and #NoMoreCuts.