Volumne 12, Issue No. 1
February 4, 2014

82 Days Until Sequester

82 calendar days remain until the sequester goes into effect.  However, in real terms, there are few Congressional days until January 2, 2013, when the 8 percent across the board cuts to defense and non-defense programs kick in.  Congressional members are back in their districts until after the election on November 6th and return November 13th. The House of Representatives’ calendar list only 17 working days, aka Lame Duck, until sequester.

National Journal reported on October 8th that Speaker John Boehner thinks a lame duck deal is unlikely.  Speaker Boehner is not the only lawmaker and insider forecasting Congress will not reach a deal during the lame-duck session.  Boehner commented in a Politico interview that “I think that’s difficult to do. You know, and frankly, I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do — have a lot of retiring members and defeated members voting on really big bills. Eh, probably not the appropriate way to handle the lame duck.”

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Members of Congress recognized the vast impact of the sequester on defense and non-defense and passed language that require the military, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the president to report on the effects of sequester on defense and domestic programs.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told agencies on Friday, September 28th that they “should continue normal spending and operations into the first part of FY13.” The guidance was provided in a report on how agencies should carry out spending under the continuing resolution (CR), which funds government agencies at the 2012 levels. While the White House recommends ignoring the sequester for now, they told the agencies that, “If necessary, the bulletin will be amended to address that sequestration.” The Pentagon echoed this call saying, “We do not want our programs, personnel and activities to begin to suffer the harmful effects of sequestration while there is still a chance it can be avoided.”

Coalition for Health Funding Lobby Day
ANA will participate in the Coalition for Health Funding’s Hill Day for lobbyists on Tuesday, October 23. Volunteers will be assigned to teams of four, and will divide and conquer congressional offices, spreading the word about non-defense discretionary (NDD), public health cuts, and the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction and the sequester.

NDD Call/Tweet Day Success
The Coalition for Health Funding held their first ever Call/Tweet day on September 20th to bring members of Congress’s attention to a balanced approach to the sequester. Over 400 tweeters participated in bringing awareness to the devastating effect of the sequester on public health, education, and other NDD programs. The tweets “reached” more than 500K active Twitter users, and potentially 1.75 million others.  Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

For more information or to contact your legislator to urge them to support a balance approach to deficit reduction click here.

April Canter. MPA

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