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Stop Sequestration Now



Sequestration – across-the-board, indiscriminate cuts in federal spending – went into effect in March 2013. All federal education programs were but by 5%, from Title I to teacher professional development to special education. Congress has just voted to replace sequestration for FY14 and FY15, with some increases to programs like education, but left the threat of sequestration in place for FY16 – 21.

Limited Budget Compromise Reached

  • Although a deal was reached to establish top level budget amounts for the next two years, and replace 87% of the previous cuts to non-defense programs, specific program allocations for FY14 have not yet been enacted and Congress must still agree on these specific levels.
  • The compromise is limited to two years, thus leaving in place the threat of sequestration for FY16 – 21, and does not address some of the larger and more complicated fiscal issues that have caused the serious budget impasses in recent months.
  • Unless Congress replaces all years of sequestration, the cuts implemented in FY13 may reoccur and subject education programs to additional cuts through 2021.

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Why Speak Up on Education Funding?

  • It’s more important than ever for educators to speak up and tell Congress that federal education spending is crucial for the future of students, schools, and communities. Other interests, such as the military and health care, are already warning lawmakers of the danger to national security and citizen safety if their programs continue to be cut.
  • Lawmakers need to hear about the real life consequences these cuts are having in your district, school, and classroom.

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Find Out More

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What You Need to Know

  • Congress passed the Budget Control Act in August of 2011 that included sequestration as a threat to force lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to agree on a balanced approach to reduce the federal deficit by trimming spending and increasing revenue.
  • Unfortunately, Congress did not arrive at a solution acceptable to both parties at that time, triggering sequestration.
  • Sequestration will be in place through 2021, and requiring the federal budget to be cut by about $90 billion each year until then (according to the Congressional Budget Office).
  • The first round of sequestration cuts took effect in March 2013, slashing 5% from all federal education programs (including $727 million from Title I, $621 million from IDEA, and $400 million from Head Start).
  • The government is currently funded at FY2013 levels only through January 2014.
  • Policymakers reached agreement on spending levels for FY14 and FY15, but left in place the threat of cuts in subsequent years.

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What You Can Do

  • Use our action alert system to tell your elected officials how sequestration has or will affect your school or district, and urge them to stop sequestration now!
  • Share this information with your educator colleagues and friends. Congressional leaders need to hear from across the country about the devastating effect that sequestration has had and will continue to have on the children they represent.

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Sequestration FAQs

1. What is sequestration?

A: Sequestration is a fiscal policy procedure adopted by Congress to deal with the federal budget deficit. Simply put, sequestration is the cancellation of previously approved spending— an automatic form of spending cuts. As modified by the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress January 1, 2013, sequestration took effect March 1, 2013 and will continue to impose cuts over the next eight years, 2014–2021.

Some federal programs are called "mandatory" and are handled differently. However, the rest of the government, the so-called "discretionary" programs, are subject to significant cuts that started in 2013 that are to be divided equally between nondefense spending and defense spending.

2. Why did sequestration happen in FY13?

A: A law passed by Congress and signed by the president in August 2011 created a Congressional supercommittee to deal with the federal budget deficit with the mandate to enact a package of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the deficit. As an incentive for Democrats and Republicans to reach agreement, the law contains the threat of the across-the-board cuts (sequestration) if a deal wasn’t struck. No deal was reached by this deadline, triggering sequestration in January 2013. Congress did pass a budget deal in late 2012 that postponed sequestration until March 2013.

3. Will sequestration happen in FY14?

A: No, thanks to the limited budget agreement passed by Congress in December 2013 that replaces sequestration for FY14 and FY15 and reinstates some of the funding cuts from FY13. Specific funding levels for education must be agreed to by the House and Senate committees charged with these decisions.

4. How long will sequestration last?

A: Sequestration is the law of the land through 2021 until Congress passes another bill to repeal or replace it in subsequent years. If not, education funding may be subject to additional cuts.

5. What should I say?

A: Educators should hold lawmakers accountable for their fiscal decisions by speaking out boldly and often. Every child deserves an excellent education to prepare them for college or a career. Research shows that every dollar invested in education provides a return to the economy in terms of productivity, taxes, and overall well-being. Congress must prioritize federal investments to recognize the benefits of an educated citizenry and increase our government’s commitment to our children.

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