<p>In August 2011, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate passed the Budget Control Act, which established "Sequestration" -- automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal spending to take... Read More
Sep 21, 2012
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In order to comply with the Budget Control Act of 2011, $1.2 Trillion of across-the-board cuts will be enacted in January, 2013 for the next ten years. Unless supporters of education speak out, children will be the ones to absorb $5 billion in cuts to federal education programs. The nation's most vulnerable children -- those from low-income or English language learner backgrounds, or needing special education -- will experience the loss of tutors, aides, and other educators with specialized skills to help them succeed. This is unacceptable. Voters in the most recent election rejected ballooning class sizes and disinvestment in education. We must follow through in the lame duck session by limiting cuts to education, raising revenue through increases on the income tax rates paid by the top 1%, and closing capital gains and corporate loopholes in order to invest in a globally competitive, high quality education for every child in the nation.
October 22, 2012 Last summer, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) in order to raise the debt ceiling. The BCA dictated that in the event that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which was created by the legislation, was unable to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, then across-the-board cuts, or sequestrations, would be triggered. The Committee failed to find the necessary spending cuts and thus, sequestration is currently scheduled to go into effect on January 1st, 2013. Sequestration will be applied to both defense and non-defense spending, as well as to mandatory and discretionary spending in years 2013 to 2021 (there will be limited exemptions). The automatic cuts will equal $1.2 trillion from 2013 to 2021. Therefore, unless Congress and the Administration see fit to act during a “lame duck” session of Congress – and find an alternative – sequestration will go into effect on January 1, 2013. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have both established that in order to achieve these savings there will have to be a 9.4 percent cut to defense programs and an 8.2 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending. While OMB has outlined what programs it anticipates could be impacted, it has not yet provided guidance on how the cuts will be assigned across specific programs. CompTIA represents the interests of small- and medium-sized IT firms and leads in the area of IT workforce development. With these constituencies in mind, we have reviewed the OMB outline regarding sequestration and have several concerns. Government as a Consumer of and Partner in Innovation It is widely anticipated that government contracting could be significantly impacted by sequesteration in both the defense and civilian discretionary accounts. Various estimates put U.S. government annual IT spending at approximately $80 billion. Under sequestration, institutional prime contractors to the Department of Defense may experience cutbacks in government contracts. Yet, much like the auto industry, these large firms are the tip of the iceberg, as they require support from a cadre of small- and medium-sized IT firms to provide a variety of IT services. The ripple effect of federal budget cuts in contracting seen throughout the economy could be profound. As a consumer, the federal government helps to drive the IT industry. For example, within the last 18 to 24 months, federal agencies have started to migrate servers to cloud environments. Mobile apps for the enterprise and government sector are further behind in terms of adoption by federal agencies, while unified communications and M2M platforms are still in the experimental stages. Across the board cuts to federal agency budgets could have a direct impact on these transitions and on the IT sector’s drive to innovate. A restriction in procurement could remove incentives for firms to invest in newer, innovative, emergent technologies to meet these government technology adoptions. Many smaller firms, including CompTIA members, are developing products to meet contract specs (like mobile apps) and now could be forced to put such projects on a back burner. Beyond the intersection of government consumption of innovation there is, of course, government investment in research and development – particularly at the basic and applied research levels. Several organizations, such as the American Association for Advancement of Science, the Information Technology Industry Foundation and others, have released reports detailing how potential federal R&D programs could be impacted by sequestration. The reports detail the alarming impact that sequestration would have on innovation, national productivity and jobs. A short-term cut in R&D could impose a long-term penalty on our national competitiveness. Small Business Programs Aside from the down stream effects of sequestration in relation to government contracts and R&D, there are also some specific small business programs that could be adversely impacted by the sequestration process. For example, the OMB report identifies the Small Business Lending Fund as an eligible program for sequestration cuts. This fund supports loans to community banks in order to encourage these banks to increase small business lending. While the size of cuts may not be considered large within the scope of all cuts, these types of reductions around support and lending programs are harmful because a little help goes a long way for the small entrepreneur. Workforce and Skills Gap As the leading global provider of vendor-neutral IT workforce certifications, CompTIA sits uniquely at the intersection of innovation and education. Approximately 300,000 IT jobs are currently unfilled in this country. Policies and programs that expand lifelong education in computer sciences and basic IT skills – as well as policies and programs that lead to meaningful careers in IT – are desperately needed if the U.S. is to spur job growth, innovate and compete globally. Yet many of the federal programs that play a role in supporting workforce development are at risk of being cut under sequestration. For example, the office in the Department of Education charged with coordinating programs in adult education and literacy, career and technical education, and community colleges is at risk. Further, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program is at risk. This program provides community colleges and other institutions funds to support those men and women who have been economically dislocated due to the vagaries of global competition and are in need of re-training to get back into the workforce. Finally, the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training office, which provides resources and expertise to assist and prepare veterans to obtain meaningful careers, maximize their employment opportunities, and protects their employment rights, is at risk. The IT industry is united in its concern over possible sequestration consequences. All of us take seriously our nation’s fiscal position and the need to responsibly address the deficit. Nevertheless, innovation, support for our small businesses and preparation of our workforce are investments that should not be shortchanged. We hope that Congress and the White House will head off the blunt instrument of sequestration and, instead, work together with scalpel-like efficiency to cut spending wisely and not at the expense of critical investments that are at the heart of our national prosperity. http://blog.comptia.org/2012/10/22/implications-of-sequestration-for-the-it-industry/
The debate in Washington over the economy and the national debt has become intense. Major decisions about taxes and spending, as well as sequestration, will be decided after the election this fall, and your voice is an important ingredient in ensuring that Head Start and Early Head Start remain a priority for Congress. Cuts resulting from sequestration are scheduled to occur evenly across defense and non-defense (Head Start, K-12 education, transportation, public health, energy, etc) programs. The Defense industry has used its significant power to try and convince Congress to protect defense spending from the cuts. If they are successful, all $1.2 trillion in cuts would be borne by non-defense spending. This would mean that the Head Start/Early Head Start cuts would be absolutely catastrophic—over 200,000 children lost from the program. We hope you will help us reinforce the message that financing deficit reduction by cutting programs for the most vulnerable families will put our country on an unsustainable and downward path. http://www.supportheadstart.org/7650/help-ensure-sequestration-does-not-happen/
Oppose (Source: https://www.aamc.org/download/305342/data/aamcletteronimpactofbudgetsequestrationonprogramsofinteresttome.pdf)
On August 2, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), increasing our nation’s debt limit and imposing a series of measures to limit spending and decrease the nation’s debt. The BCA calls for $900 million in cuts to discretionary programs, including education, over the next decade. It also created a Joint Select Committee (referred to as the “Supercommittee”) made up of members from the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans charged with finding $1.2 trillion more in cuts over the next decade. If the Supercommittee failed to identify this savings, or Congress failed to approve the Supercommittee’s recommendation, automatic cuts would impact every federal program not specifically excluded on January 1, 2013. The Supercommittee failed, and now sequestration will begin, unless Congress and the Administration change the law. At the time of publication, several members of the House of Representatives have proposed a bill that would prohibit sequestration from impacting Department of Defense programs, but there has not been any similar legislation proposed to address education. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan office that advises Congress on the implications of its proposals has estimated that sequestration will mean a cut of approximately 8% to all education programs. This means that the entire U.S. Department of Education’s budget will be reduced by approximately $3.5 billion. These cuts will be felt by every single school in the nation and will impact educators’ abilities to serve children and youth with disabilities appropriately. Furthermore, they come at a time when other cuts have made it impossible to not reduce essential services. CEC calls on Congress to consider the potential impact of this across-the- board cut on children and youth, families, professionals and communities before allowing these cuts to deny resources and supports to those who need them most. Avoid a sequester by passing a balanced deficit reduction measure. http://www.cec.sped.org/Content/NavigationMenu/PolicyAdvocacy/CECPolicyResources/Sequestration.pdf
May 1, 2012 Dear Senator/Representative XXXXX: The Military Coalition, a consortium of military and veterans associations representing more than 5.5 million members plus their families and survivors, urges you to ensure Congress acts to protect the Defense Department and the Nation from the catastrophic impact that sequestration would have on the defense budget and future national security. Absent alternative congressional action, the January 2013 sequestration required by the Budget Control Act would force an additional $60 billion in automatic cuts to the defense budget for FY2013, over and above the $45 billion already taken – a cumulative 18% cut in one year, plus nearly a half-trillion dollars in additional cuts over the next nine years. The defense budget consumes only 17% of budget but will be hit with 50% of the cuts. Cuts of such magnitude would devastate the all-volunteer force that already has been required to bear 100% of the nation’s burden of wartime sacrifice for the last decade. Sequestration would require massive force reductions of more than 200,000, leaving the smallest ground forces since 1940 and a remaining force more vulnerable to emerging threats. It likely would entail breaking compensation, health care, and other support commitments to generations of servicemembers, families, and survivors who already have spent decades sacrificing their personal interests in service to their country. And it would do all this while our Nation is still at war and while our economy is experiencing unemployment levels near the highest in recent memory. It is difficult to see how the services could continue to recruit and retain a high-quality career force after imposing such grossly disproportional budgetary penalties on servicemembers and families. Avoiding the terrible effects of sequestration is not a political issue. It is fundamental to sustaining the Nation’s ability to defend itself. The Military Coalition urges you and every member of Congress to seek an immediate, bipartisan solution to avoid this unconscionable prospect. http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=04d1440c-2d2a-4e41-b84e-5e39a07efa5e
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<p>In August 2011, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate passed the Budget Control Act, which established "Sequestration" -- automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal spending to take effect on January 2, 2013 -- if Congress does not act on further deficit reduction. The Sequestration requires $109 billion annually in federal spending cuts, resulting in a 9.4% reduction in defense discretionary funding and an 8.2% reduction in nondefense discretionary funding.</p><br /> <br /> <p><em>By supporting, you will be telling Congress that Sequestration should occur.</em></p><br /> <p><em>By opposing, you will be telling Congress to act on further deficit reduction to prevent Sequestration.</em></p>