Returning to Sequestration Levels Would Have Devastating Effects
On May 17, 2017, the NDD United Steering Committee sent a letter to House and Senate Budget Committee Members reinforcing the positions from its February sign on letter in regards to the impact of sequestration as Congress turns to the FY 2018 budget.
Congressional Democrats have been ramping up for the fight to raise the discretionary spending caps established by sequestration. Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy sent a letter to Chairman Enzi and Ranking Member Sanders outlining both the damage that would be done by returning to post-sequester levels or even worse, the Trump Budget.
The administration is expected to release its full budget on May 23rd.
In the five years since the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), discretionary programs have been slashed by $2 trillion under post-sequestration budget cuts.
The resulting cuts have taken their toll on everything from the readiness of U.S. armed forces, to millions of families not receiving heating assistance, and drastic cuts to federal investment in job training and employment programs.
In Fiscal Year 2018, post-sequestration budget caps are set to return under the BCA, which are $4.9 billion below fiscal year 2017 levels. This is on top of an estimated $12.8 billion shortfall due to revised fee estimates and required spending over which Congress has little control.
Without a cap increase non-defense discretionary programs will have to absorb cuts $15.7 billion dollars below the fiscal year 2017 level.
On top of these cuts, President Trump has proposed slashing an additional $54 billion from non-defense programs to pay for his defense increase. Assuming, as the Trump Administration has indicated, an increase for veterans’ funding and border security, this would result in a 13 percent cut to non-defense discretionary programs.
In his letter, Leahy urges the Senate Budget Committee to reach a bipartisan agreement that would maintain parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs and avert the devastating consequences of sequestration and the cuts proposed by the administration.
Leahy wrote: “Proposing such draconian cuts constitutes a fundamental lack of understanding of the role such programs play in securing our nation, creating jobs, caring for our veterans, promoting our health and the environment, and helping our most vulnerable citizens.”
NDD United is an alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans. The programs–known in the nation’s capital as nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs—include:
- veterans affairs,
- medical and scientific research;
- education and job training;
- public safety and law enforcement;
- public health;
- weather monitoring and environmental protection;
- natural and cultural resources;
- housing and social services; and
- international relations.
Each day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.