ACE and 34 higher education associations sent a letter Nov. 1 asking House and Senate budget committee members to eliminate the FY 2014 sequestration spending cuts and prioritize investment in higher education and research in any plan they draft.
The conference committee is responsible for returning a spending plan to both chambers by Dec. 13, an outcome of the budget deal reached in October to reopen the federal government. There will be no immediate fallout if they end in stalemate. However, if no progress is made before the continuing resolution (a short-term spending bill) runs out Jan. 15, Congress will be right back where it started, with a Feb. 7 debt ceiling deadline looming.
As the groups wrote, sequestration—the across-the-board federal spending cuts that began March 1—has already negatively impacted many of the programs on which the American economy depends, including scientific research, student aid and workforce training. If additional cuts are layered on top of those already in place, the strong and sustained economic growth needed to move the country forward will not be possible.
The Student Aid Alliance, which is co-chaired by Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE, and David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, also sent a letter last week to the budget committees, urging them to repeal sequestration and provide the highest possible funding levels for non-defense discretionary spending in the FY 2014 budget agreement.