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Universities Ask Congress To Stop Mandatory Cuts

by Andrea Widener
March 9, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 10

Leaders of three U.S. higher education organizations are urging Congress to abandon mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration to prevent the nation’s research and development enterprise from falling behind its international competitors. The groups—the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, and the American Council on Education—represent all major U.S. public and private universities. In a letter sent late last month, the organizations ask House and Senate budget leaders to make changes to prevent the nation from falling into an “innovation deficit” by prioritizing science programs. “The budget resolution provides an important opportunity to put our country on a path to closing the innovation deficit by reducing the gap between actual and needed federal investments in scientific research and higher education,” the groups say. They suggest that Congress take up bipartisan tax and entitlement reform and repeal sequestration, which laid out 10-year budget caps aimed at reducing spending by $1 trillion. For 2016, those caps are 0.2% above 2015 levels, far below the 1.6% level of inflation. By contrast, the White House budget asks for a 6% increase for R&D over 2015.


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