Joins nearly 3,000 organizations to make voice of nondefense discretionary programs heard
(WASHINGTON) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) and others from the nondefense discretionary (NDD) community today 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 ASH in this effort are nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states representing the biomedical, education, and public safety communities, among others. Despite the collective’s diverse interests, each organization shares a common purpose of protecting the core government functions comprising NDD spending from further cuts.
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, 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.
Sequestration will be especially devastating to biomedical research. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in the absence of new legislation to prevent the automatic spending cuts, the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be reduced by an estimated $2.4 billion to 2004 spending levels. It is estimated that such a cut at NIH would mean the agency would be able to provide about 2,300 fewer research project grants per year (nearly one quarter of the new and competing grants funded by NIH). These cuts would have an immediate, dramatic effect on ASH’s member hematologists, slowing efforts to develop new treatments for life-threatening blood disorders and severely impeding the recruitment and retention of hematologists to the field.
“NDD programs are not the reason for our growing debt, and yet they are always the first place lawmakers look for cuts,” said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. “Our goal is to protect NIH and the biomedical research community from further cuts by educating policymakers about NDD and its small and shrinking share of the economy. It is our hope that Congress will avoid sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction that recognizes NDD—including NIH—has done its part.”
Reporters who would like to speak with ASH President Armand Keating, MD, should contact ASH Communications Manager Andrea Slesinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-552-4927.
The American Society of Hematology is the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.