From the President’s Office – 2/7/2013
It has been two weeks since I communicated with you, but I will risk sounding like a broken record. There is still no resolution to the budget crisis facing this nation. The clock is ticking and March 1 is not far off. There are a number of options that could occur with respect to sequestration. If the sequester occurs, two things could happen. Non-defense discretionary programs (including science) would receive an 8.2 percent cut and defense programs would receive a cut of 9.4 percent. Second, Congress could give the President reprogramming authority to set priorities and protect favored programs (such as science).
Another option for Congress is that they could kick the whole sequestration can down the road for another few months, thereby essentially postponing the pain. Congress could also reduce the sequester or avoid it temporarily by finding savings in other places, such as corporate programs like oil and gas tax benefits. The final option is that Congress and the President could reach a deal that saves $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, most likely associated with entitlement reform and savings in other mandatory spending programs.
However, it is not clear at this time which one of these options will actually occur. Another problem is that when a decision is made, it takes quite a bit of time to put the spend plan in place and for the federal agencies to implement it. I have said “stayed tuned” a number of times, and am sorry to have to repeat it again. It is beginning to look like we will go right down to the wire, 11:59 p.m., February 28. I fully recognize that this makes it very difficult for you to plan for your organization’s future. But, Washington is a strange place these days.
Given all the turmoil, I suggest you find a way to have a restful weekend!