AAHC Urges Congress to Avert Sequestration; Protect Core Government Functions

Jul 17, 2012, 09:35 ET from Association of Academic Health Centers

Joins Nearly 3,000 Organizations to Make Voice of Nondefense Discretionary Programs Heard

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) and others from the nondefense discretionary (NDD) funding community delivered a letter to Congress, urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a "balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs."  Joining AAHC in this effort are nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states representing the biomedical research, health, education, and public safety communities, among others.  Despite diverse interests, the organizations share a common purpose to protect from further cuts the core government functions that make up NDD spending.

NDD programs are provided by the government for the benefit of all Americans.  They support economic growth, strengthen safety and security, and enrich the lives of every American in every state and community across the nation.  In 2011, NDD spending represented less than one-fifth of the federal budget and 4.3 percent of our country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Under strict discretionary caps in the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA), by 2021 NDD spending will decline to just 2.8 percent of GDP, the lowest level in at least 50 years.  If sequestration is allowed to take effect, cuts to NDD programs will be even deeper.

"NDD programs are not a principal reason for our growing debt, and yet they are often the first place lawmakers look for cuts," said Dr. Steven Wartman, President and CEO of AAHC.  "Our goal is to protect health and well-being by ensuring an adequate health workforce and vital biomedical research, all of which are also essential to a robust economy.  It is our hope that in educating the public and policymakers about NDD and its small and shrinking share of the budget, we can convince Congress to avoid sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction that recognizes NDD has already largely done its part."

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers