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Harkin Report: Sequestration Cuts NIH by $2.4 Billion, NEI by $54.8 Million; Nondefense Community Rallies to Fight Sequestration

Legislative Update
July 25, 2012

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) address a rally to avoid sequestration after issuing a major report on its devastating consequences for education, health, and medical research
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) address a rally to avoid sequestration after issuing a major report on its devastating consequences for education, health, and medical research
Today, Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the first comprehensive report on the impact of sequestration on education, health, and labor programs within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. Entitled Under Threat-Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services, the report provides national and state-by-state estimates of the number of jobs that could be lost and the number of individuals who could be affected by the cuts in services if sequestration went into effect on January 2, 2013. Although the report’s estimates are based on assumptions that were made by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in September 2011, it acknowledges that other organizations have developed estimates that predict a far greater impact.

The report’s section on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reiterates the often-cited estimate that NIH would lose $2.4 billion, but it translates that into 700 fewer grants to medical researchers in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 than in FY2012. In previous testimony before March 20 and 28 hearings of the House and Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittees, respectively, and the June 21 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. had stated that the $2.4 billion cut would require NIH to eliminate 2,300 new and competing research grants. Most importantly, the report estimates that sequestration would reduce National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $54.8 million from its FY2012 level of $702.7 million.

After releasing the report, Senator Harkin was the lead speaker at a Rally to Restore Balance and Protect America’s Families, which was held by the Nondefense Discretionary (NDD) Coalition, of which NAEVR is a member. Senator Harkin was joined by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee, Cong. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the Ranking Member of the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee, and Cong. George Miller (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The speakers urged their colleagues in Congress to work on a balanced and bipartisan alternative to sequestration that does not impose an undue burden on nondefense discretionary spending and does not put an additional burden on the middle class.

The NDD Coalition organized the rally to draw attention to the potential devastating impact of sequestration on the nondefense sector, since most attention has been focused on defense cuts.

NAEVR and ARVO joined nearly 3,000 other organizations from the nondefense discretionary community as signatories on a July 12 NDD Coalition letter to Congress and the Administration urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.” NAEVR has also organized the vision research community to email letters to their Members of Congress urging them to avoid sequestration.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who served on the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction stated, “Here in DC we hear a lot about the impact of defense cuts…. But across America, all the automatic cuts would be deeply damaging to families and communities.”
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who served on the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction stated, “Here in DC we hear a lot about the impact of defense cuts…. But across America, all the automatic cuts would be deeply damaging to families and communities.”
Cong. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reiterated her concern for the future of education, health, and social programs which she had previously expressed in a July 23 press release lamenting the House Republican leadership’s FY2013 LHHS spending bill which, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, cuts funding by seven percent
Cong. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reiterated her concern for the future of education, health, and social programs which she had previously expressed in a July 23 press release lamenting the House Republican leadership’s FY2013 LHHS spending bill which, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, cuts funding by seven percent
The rally’s audience, which numbered at about 300, displayed signs of protest against sequestration and tweeted about the event in real-time
The rally’s audience, which numbered at about 300, displayed signs of protest against sequestration and tweeted about the event in real-time
Senator Harkin was joined by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who spoke about the potential impact on health and education programs in his city
Senator Harkin was joined by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who spoke about the potential impact on health and education programs in his city