Message to APS Members, authorized by Michael Turner, APS President

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Message to APS members, authorized by Michael Turner, APS President

The Issue

  • On March 6, the House of Representatives passed legislation extending the fiscal year 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) to September 30, 2013. The extension incorporates the recent March 1 sequester (5.9 percent cut for non-defense and 7.3 percent cut for defense) providing limited reprogramming flexibility for the Defense Department only. Absent further changes, the reductions for fiscal year 2013 will be incorporated into the baseline for future budgets, placing future science programs at risk.
  • The Senate CR, which will be acted on shortly, provides some reprogramming for NIST and NASA along with additional funding for NSF and OSTP to help these agencies better deal with the sequester. The Senate CR maintains fiscal year 2012 appropriated levels for the Department of Energy, NIH, and the Department of Defense. The Senate CR would still be subject to the sequester.
  • The House and Senate must resolve their differences in conference before the March 27 deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Action Required

  • Telephone your senators immediately requesting that the Senate exempt science from the sequestration embodied in the House CR extension.
  • In your communication, note that:
  • Science and technology account for more than 50 percent of U.S. GDP growth.;
  • Debt stabilization will not be possible without significant economic growth;
  • Federal support of science is critical to developing the workforce of the future;
  • Science has engendered strong bipartisan support, evidenced by President George W. Bush's American Competitive Initiative, the House Democrats Innovation Agenda, the 2007 and 2010 America COMPETES Act;
  • The United States faces intense science and technology competition from nations around the world, which continue to ramp up their research support;
  • The 2012 report from INSEAD and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) ranks the U.S. 10th in innovation among the world's nations, confirming a continuing decade-long decline in American competitiveness.

Contact Information

You may find the telephone numbers for your senators on the senate website.

Additional Background Information

  • Fiscal year 2013 began on October 1, 2012. Since then, the federal government has been operating on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds activities at fiscal year 2012 levels. The CR expires on March 27, 2013.
  • On March 1, across-the-board budget reductions (known as sequestration) took effect, resulting in an immediate drop of 5 percent in non-defense discretionary spending and 8 percent in defense spending for the totality of the current fiscal year.
  • Sequestration, mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, is the result of the inability of Democrats and Republicans to come to agreement on long-term deficit reduction and debt stabilization.
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