DC Digest – March 1, Sequestration Edition

In Today’s Issue:

  • Budget Sequester Goes into Effect Today
  • OMB Sends Sequestration Guidance Memo To Agency and Department Heads
  • Current NSF Grantees Are Protected from Sequester
  • NIH Releases Operation Plan in the Event of Sequestration
  • AAU President Testifies At Senate Budget Committee Hearing on Federal Investments
  • NASFAA Provides School-by-School Estimated Cuts Under Sequester

 

BUDGET SEQUESTER GOES INTO EFFECT TODAY
Unless Congress enacts an 11th hour fix, the $85.3 billion sequestration will go into effect at 11:59 pm tonight.  At that time, the Office of Management and Budget will issue a notice directing federal agencies to reduce their FY 2013 budgets to meet the funding levels mandated by the sequester.  Several agencies have already provided general guidance regarding the implementation of the sequester and the Office of Management and Budget has directed agencies to release more specific operational plans.

The full force of these cuts won’t be felt immediately.  For example, it is expected that official furlough notices for federal workers will be released next week, but won’t be implemented until April.

The budget negotiations are far from over, as Congress and the Administration will spend most of the month of March discussing various methods of altering or repealing the sequester, all while trying to avoid a government shutdown later this month when the current continuing resolution is set to expire on March 27.

Duke officials will continue to monitor the fiscal situation in Washington, and the Office of Federal Relations (OFR) will provide updates as needed.  President Brodhead will be in DC next week to discuss the sequester and other federal issues with Duke’s representatives in Congress.

In the meantime, members of the Duke community with questions or requests for more information about sequestration should feel free to contact the Office of Federal Relations at 919.668.6270.

See remaining items in this DC Digest for additional information from OMB, NSF, NIH, and more.

Read More:
Sequestration Presents Uncertain Outlook for Students, Researchers, and Job-Seekers (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
Duke Officials Monitoring Federal Budget Sequester (today.duke.edu)


OMB SENDS SEQUESTRATION GUIDANCE MEMO TO AGENCY AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
OMB controller Danny Werfel sent a memorandum to all federal government agency and department heads on Wednesday to provide guidance on the implementation of the impending sequestration.

“The president has been clear that sequestration is bad policy that was never intended to be implemented, and the administration remains hopeful that Congress will act to avoid it through an agreement on balanced deficit reduction,” Controller Danny Werfel said in the memo. “However, because legislation may not be enacted to avoid sequestration before the current deadline,” federal agencies have planned for cuts to take effect.

Werfel instructed the heads of federal departments and agencies to keep examining their finances and “to engage in intense and thorough planning activities to determine all specific actions that will be taken as soon as practicable.”

The memo addresses agency budget planning activities, communication to stakeholders, contracting and acquisition, financial assistance, and increased scrutiny of activities.

Read More:
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies (whitehouse.gov) 


CURRENT NSF GRANTEES ARE PROTECTED FROM SEQUESTER
In a letter to the research community posted on Wednesday, NSF Director Subra Suresh explained that existing National Science Foundation (NSF) grantees won’t be affected by the government-wide funding cut, known as the sequester, scheduled to go into effect on Friday. 

Read More:
Current NSF Grantees Are Protected from Sequester (sciencemag.org)
NSF Notice to Universities, Colleges, and Other Awardee Organizations (nsf.gov)

NIH RELEASES OPERATION PLAN IN THE EVENT OF SEQUESTRATION
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is among the federal agencies that have sent out memos and notifications to their grant holders in which they specify the kinds of cuts expected in individual operations.

A notice of an “NIH Operation Plan in the Event of a Sequestration,” released Feb. 21, states the following: “Final levels of FY 2013 funding may be reduced by a sequestration. Despite the potential for reduced funding, the NIH remains committed to our mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”

Read More:
NIH Operation Plan in the Event of a Sequestration (NIH.gov)


AAU PRESIDENT TESTIFIES AT SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE HEARING ON FEDERAL INVESTMENTS
AAU President Hunter Rawlings testified on February 26 at a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, whose goal was to examine “federal investments on families, communities, and long-term and broad-based economic growth” and the likely impact of the sequester.

In his written testimony, President Rawlings addressed federally funded university research and student financial aid.  He said, in part:

“Federal support for research and student financial aid laid the foundation for the dramatic expansion of the 20th century U.S. economy and can do the same in the 21st century. These investments produce the educated people and the ideas that lead to new products, new businesses, and entire new industries, as well as to the jobs that go with them. Cutting these investments in our future is not the way to solve our nation’s deficit problem. Such cuts would undermine economic growth that is essential to deficit reduction. Yet that is exactly what the sequester will do. To put it kindly, this is an irrational approach to deficit reduction. To put it not so kindly, it is just plain stupid.”

Read More:
Rawlings Testimony (budget.senate.gov)
Impact of Federal Investments on People, Communities, and Long-Term Economic Growth(budget.senate.gov) 

NASFAA PROVIDES SCHOOL-BY-SCHOOl ESTIMATED CUTS UNDER SEQUESTER
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released a chart on Tuesday that estimates cuts to Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work Study programs that would take place at the instituion level under the sequester.

NASFAA is emphasizing that these are estimates only.  Information on Duke is found on page 29 of the PDF imbedded in the link below.

Read More:
NASFAA Provides School-by-School Estimated Cuts Under Sequester (NASFAA.org)