Federal programs face $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts
The congressional panel that was charged with recommending more than $1 trillion in federal savings failed to reach a consensus before its Nov. 23 deadline. The collapse of the panel’s nearly three-month effort to find a compromise on taxes and entitlement programs leaves a wide range of federal programs, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), facing automatic spending cuts beginning in January 2013 unless Congress takes action to circumvent the cuts that were mandated by the Budget Control Act.
The bipartisan “supercommittee” was mandated to identify $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction steps over the next decade, but, not surprising to many, Republicans and Democrats on the 12-member panel could not reach any common ground.
The impasse reached by the supercommittee now means that $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are looming. The cuts would take effect in January 2013, including $600 billion from military programs and $600 billion from all non-defense discretionary programs, such as health research, education and transportation programs. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that such domestic programs would be cut by 7.8 percent in fiscal year 2013, potentially resulting in a $2.5 billion reduction to the NIH.
While there are some expectations that Congress will take action to modify or circumvent the automatic reductions before they begin in January 2013, President Obama has vowed to veto any attempts by Congress to do so, saying recently:
“The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. That’s exactly what they need to do. That’s the job they promised to do. And they’ve still got a year to figure it out.”
Read more from the November edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: