APS and Member Societies' Urge White House to Break Sequestration Gridlock

President Robert Byer - August 2012

The Issue

Sequestration is the term for the automatic, across the board, budget cuts scheduled to take place on January 2, 2013, to all discretionary federal spending accounts. APS, along with other scientific societies, shared its concerns regarding the impending sequestration with the White House and Senate and House leadership. The letter encourages a productive resolution to the current budget impasse before the sequestration comes into effect.

Letter to President Obama

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Building a better America requires pursuing a sound fiscal policy. It also means strengthening the drivers of job creation and economic growth.

There is no doubt we must adopt practices that allow us to live within our means, but we must do so without damaging the engine of our future prosperity. As the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission noted in December 2010, even as we cut spending we must continue to “invest in education, infrastructure, and high-value research and development to help our economy grow, keep us globally competitive, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs.”

But today those investments are seriously threatened by sequestrations mandated by the Budget Control Act amendments of 2011 and scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013. A projected across-the-board reduction of 8-9 percent in those accounts would jeopardize the fabric of science and technology that has been responsible for more that 50 percent of American GDP growth since the end of Second World War.

As leaders of professional societies representing more than 135,000 physical scientists and educators in universities, companies, hospitals and national laboratories, we are writing to urge you to resume consideration of a comprehensive deficit reduction plan. A successful strategy must not only set our nation on a long-term course of fiscal responsibility, but also promote strong economic growth by sustaining the science and technology activities that have long kept America innovative and competitive in the global marketplace.

We recognize that little time remains between now and the January 2, 2013 date of reckoning. But the stakes are so high that the gridlock, which has hampered progress on deficit reduction, must be broken now for the sake of future generations.

Robert L. Byer
  American Physical Society

Gary A. Ezzell
  American Association of Physicists in Medicine

Tony Heinz

Jill A. Marshall
  American Association of Physics Teachers

Alison A. Baski

George Phillips
  American Crystallographic Association

H. Frederick Dylla
  Executive Director & CEO
  American Institute of Physics