Well, everyone, it’s March 1—the deadline for the start of sequestration cuts. As a reminder, sequestration is a series of across the board cuts to federal programs beginning today that was first set up as a result of the 2011 Budget and Control Act. In December, the cuts were delayed until March 1, 2013 and partially off-set. Congressional leaders did meet with President Obama this morning to discuss sequestration, but came to no last minute deal to avert the cuts. Because Congress did not come to an agreement to further delay or off-set these cuts, most programs in the federal budget are now facing cuts of 5%.
What that means exactly for your state programs (and all other funding streams supported by the Division of STD Prevention) is currently unclear. While the law names March 1 as the day the sequester cuts start, agencies have the month of March to outline plans for how they are going to realize those cuts. Full implementation of sequestration will not begin until March 27.
How the individual divisions within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will implement these cuts could greatly alter how much individual programs (and grants) are cut—actual cuts could be less than the baseline 5% or higher. Some reports place estimates of cuts to certain areas up to as much as 12%.
We are hoping for more clarification from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB, the Federal Government’s experts on everything budget-related) soon, hopefully early next week. Earlier this week, OMB did release a memo to federal agencies outlining their responsibilities for implementing sequestration. This is not the official sequestration order, but does provide insight on how the sequester will affect the federal and state governments. The memo directs agencies to begin planning to operate with reduced budgetary resources in the event that sequestration occurs. Late last week, the White House also released a series of fact sheets on how sequestration will impact each state.
We will certainly share with you any information we receive clarifying the sequester and any information about how these cuts could affect your programs. Additionally, if your state or locality begins to plan for these cuts, we would like to hear about that as well.
Please send that information, along with any questions or concerns, to NCSD’s Manger, Policy and Communications, Stephanie Arnold Pang, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-715-3865.