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Policy

Deficit-Cutting Plans Fall Through

by Susan R. Morrissey
November 28, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 48

After months of speculation, the long-term impact of federal deficit control on science funding remains unclear. A plan by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that was to be released last week would have detailed at least $1.2 trillion in cuts from the federal budget over the next decade. But on Nov. 21, the so-called supercommittee announced that it was unable to produce such a plan. The missed deadline makes automatic, across-the-board cuts likely. These cuts, which will take effect in January 2013, will be split evenly between defense spending and nondefense spending; the latter category funds most federal R&D. The Administration remains committed to reducing the federal budget and says that Congress can still act to avoid the automatic cuts. “I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending,” President Barack Obama said after the supercommittee announced its failure. He added that Congress still has a year to come up with a plan. “There are no easy off-ramps on this one.”

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