“Sequestration” Explained

In our messaging to Congress, we’ve been talking a lot lately about the need to reverse the cuts to medical research that took place as a result of sequestration. To help you understand what that means, we’ve created a short background on sequestration.

Sequestration is a fiscal policy procedure that Congress passed to reduce the federal budget deficit. It forces automatic cuts on almost all discretionary funding for the next ten years. Discretionary programs are programs like education, job training, air safety control, health programs, and medical research, that Congress renews funding for every year.

It became federal policy in 2011 when Congress passed a law saying that if they couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion, then $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts would automatically go into effect starting in 2013. After multiple deadlines, the congressional “Super Committee” that was formed to find an alternative to the sequester failed to reach agreement, and on March 1, 2013, the spending cuts went into effect. As a result, funding for the National Cancer Institute was cut 5.8 percent for FY 2013.