New Report Offers Stories from the Sequester Battlefield, Detailing Real Impact of Cuts to Discretionary Programs including Medical Research
Chevy Chase, MD—As the House and Senate budget conference committee readies to meet November 13th, a new report shows how millions of Americans have been hurt by the reckless cuts to programs that rely on discretionary federal funding, from medical research to education and national parks.
In “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Safe,” NDD United, an alliance of more than 3,200 national, state, and local organizations working to stop needless cuts to core government functions, goes sector by sector, from public health to education to workforce development, telling the stories of those who’ve been impacted most by Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep us healthy, safe, and educated.
The Endocrine Society, a member of the NDD United alliance, advocates for Congress to ensure medical research is a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. The Society helped sponsor the report which details the devastating effects the budget cuts have had on medical research. In addition, the Society has collected stories of how sequestration and budget cuts are impacting research on diabetes and other endocine-related diseases, such as:
Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, President of The Endocrine Society and a professor at Northwestern University, pioneered the discipline of oncofertility which endeavors to discover and apply newfertilitypreservation options for young patients withfertility-threatening diseases or treatments.She says, “One of our most recent studies examines how environmental pollutants alter reproductive health. We obtained a grant for the study of reproductive health in DePue, IL, a designated superfund site, but as a consequence of sequester, that funding was eliminated. Sequester hurts the research lab as well as the people who urgently need our help in improving not only their health but the health of their families and children.”
Alan Schneyer, PhD, is a research professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He says, “My research team was laid off when the diabetes program at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute had to close due to budget cuts. University positions are fewer and harder to get. We are recommending students learn Chinese as there are more employment and training opportunities in China than in the US and China will soon pass the US in scientific output.”
Mary Loeken, PhD, is a research investigator and associate professor at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA. Her laboratory has led the field internationally on discovering the mechanisms by which birth defects occur in the offspring of women with diabetes. She says, “I am unable to perform some important experiments due to insufficient funds for supplies and equipment. It’s a detriment to the American people that research that could provide solutions to diseases are not being funded.”
The Budget Control Act established caps restricting how much funding Congress could allocate to discretionary programs each year over the next decade. As a result, by 2023 these caps will cut $1.6 trillion from defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs combined, relative to the inflation-adjusted 2010 funding levels. Under sequestration these programs—including both defense and nondefense programs—face more than $700 billion in cuts over the next eight years.
In two years, NDD spending will equal a smaller percentage of our economy than ever before, with data going back to 1962—if lawmakers do not act to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy. This means important research on diabetes, thyroid disease, hormonal impact on breast cancer, fertility and other endocrine-related diseases will be cut, disrupted or halted.
The temporary budget deal Congress and the White House agreed to in October failed to address sequestration and the funding levels for fiscal year 2014. Consequently, funding for medical research and other NDD programs remains in serious jeopardy.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 16,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.