The Sequester Is Delayed, But Not Forgotten

By David Bruggeman
January 9, 2013

The major political debates last week focused on the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ The cliff included a series of tax increases and spending cuts (the cuts are sometimes referred to as ‘sequestration’) that were set to happen last Tuesday, January 2.

A last-minute deal didn’t resolve the situation entirely. Tax revenues were the main focus of this bill, and the looming spending cuts were delayed until March 1. However, as the ScienceInsider blog notes, the deal did include some spending cuts, a total of $4 billion in the current fiscal year (which ends September 30) and $8 billion in fiscal year 2014.

But the budget cut requirements remain. Unless Congress can find an alternative way to lower spending by nearly $1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years, a series of automatic across-the-board cuts will take place. According to a White House analysis, this would mean a reduction of roughly 8 percent for any and all government programs connected to computing and computing research.

While the Obama Administration has spoken before about trying to ensure that science and technology research aren’t cut, the scope of the required cuts suggest that it would be tough to keep research and development funding completely protected.