Washington Prepares for Across-the-Board Spending Cuts to Begin March 1
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) faces devastating budget cuts beginning next Friday, March 1 as a result of a deficit reduction measure known as "sequestration". Unlike the previous January 1 deadline, which was averted, this time the Congress is not working on legislation to delay or prevent the cuts.
NIH and other nondefense discretionary programs will receive cuts of approximately nine percent over the remaining seven months of fiscal year (FY) 2013. (Note: Media reports describe the cuts as five percent, however, the cut is concentrated over seven months rather than a year so the impact actually will be closer to ten percent.) Cuts of this magnitude would be devastating to biomedical research, would delay or halt vital scientific projects and eliminate hundreds of research awards. Since each research award supports up to seven research positions, several thousand personnel could lose their jobs. Many projects would be difficult to pursue at reduced levels and would need to be cancelled, putting prior year investments at risk. These cuts would delay progress on the prevention of debilitating chronic conditions that are costly to society and delay development of more effective treatments for common and rare diseases affecting millions of Americans.
NIH Director Francis Collins indicated February 20 that the individual institute directors at NIH will choose how to distribute the cut among the many different kinds of mechanisms, grants and centers at their own institute.
What can you do? TELL CONGRESS HOW FURTHER CUTS WILL HARM RESEARCH!
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