What is Sequestration?
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and NDD programs. The law also directed a congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of the bi-partisan "super committeeâ€ť to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a "sequesterâ€ť to take effect on January 2, 2013.
To sequester means to set apart or to take something away until a debt has been repaid. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and nondefenseâ€”in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Actâ€™s discretionary caps. There are a few discretionary programs that are exempt from the sequester in the first year, such as Pell grants in the Department of Education. Some mandatory programs (e.g., Medicaid) are also exempt from the sequester.
â™¦ National Skills Coalition State Sequestration Issue Briefs
What is NDD (NonDefense Discretionary Program)?
Discretionary programs differ from "entitlementâ€ť programs that are funded rather automatically to meet the needs of all who qualify for them. Discretionary programs are those that Congress funds annually through the appropriations process. Congress retains complete discretion, or choice, on whether, and at what level, to fund discretionary programs.
Nondefense discretionary or "NDDâ€ť programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.
How will the sequestration impact NDD programs?
In 2013, the sequester will mean an automatic 8.4 percent cut to program funding levels in 2013 for most NDD programs. These cuts will truly be across-the-board, with no departmental or agency control on how the sequester impacts individual programs. Non-defense discretionary programsâ€”including education and workforce programsâ€”face at least $55 billion in funding cuts as of January 2013 due to the Budget Control Act, and efforts to protect funding for defense programs could double the size of these cuts. Key policymakers have even proposed eliminating dozens of federal workforce programs. It is critically important that we help policymakers understand why investments in workforce development programs are important and how these investments impact their local communities.
Actions you can take
â™¦ Sample Email - (see National Skills Coalition State Issues Brief above for state data)
â™¦ Sample Tweets