It’s Time to Raise the Caps on Capitol Hill

Capitol_hillThey say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but some in Congress haven’t gotten the message. On October 1st, if Congress doesn’t take action, the disastrous budget cuts to our nation’s most critical programs—including research funding, national labs, and education– will go back into effect, causing pain to millions of Americans across the country.

How did we get here? In 2011, Congress passed a law that cut federal spending by nearly $1 trillion and said that if lawmakers couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion, another $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts would start to take effect in 2013. Though the “Murray-Ryan” deal temporarily stopped these cuts from taking place, that deal expires in fiscal year 2016. That’s why the Biophysical Society is joining more than 2,500 other national, state and local organizations are calling on Congress to avoid the impending fiscal disaster and end sequestration. These organizations have come together to say, Raise the Spending Caps. Enough is enough.

The impending cuts will be bad, really bad. If Congress does not work together to stop sequestration, the resulting budget could:

  • Result in further cuts for the National Institutes of Health, which under sequestration would be reduced to 2002 spending levels–a major disinvestment in exactly the areas where investment is needed to support growth.
  • Sequestration relief would also cause the gross domestic product to grow by as much as 0.6 percent in 2016 and as much as 0.4 percent in 2017. Easing those ceilings would lead to increased government spending, which in turn would lead to an increase in economic output and higher employment, according to CBO.
  • Shortchange Veterans’ Administration medical care by $690 million, meaning 70,000 fewer veterans receiving medical care, fewer staff critical to improving quality of care, and delays in medical research;

Experts across the political spectrum agree these programs aren’t a driving factor behind our nation’s mid- and long-term fiscal challenges. In fact, reversing sequestration could actually create as many as 1.4 million jobs over the next two years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports.

So Congress can act to end a failed policy now and prevent another fiscal crisis, or deal with finding a cure for its aftermath. There is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation. Let’s choose prevention over cure and Raise the Spending Caps.

ON THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 10, every Congressman and Senator will receive a “Raise the Caps” baseball cap along with a letter signed by over 2500 organizations asking them to fix the budget once and for all.  The Biophysical Society is proud to be a sponsor of this effort.

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