Coalition of Associations Pushes Back on Sequestration
On Monday, NDD United urged the federal government to stop nondefense discretionary spending cuts before sequestration takes effect March 1.
With a deadline ticking in the background, associations with deeply varied interests are working together to stop nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending cuts that could significantly affect their interests.
NDD United, an umbrella group launched by the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF), first organized around sequestration during the summer and fall months under another name, NDD Summit. And with the fight pushed back by a few months, it is making another stand.
If Congress does not agree on a package of spending cuts by March 1, automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration would kick in, forcing employee layoffs, cuts in programs, and other far-reaching effects. Citing potentially devastating economic impact, the coalition’s members brushed aside differences to support the initiative.
“We’re going to rise and fall together in this debate,” said Emily Holubowich, the CHF’s executive director and the coalition’s cochair, during a Monday news conference. “Working separately wasn’t working, clearly.”
The coalition also sent a letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, noting how the cuts could have drastic effects on natural disaster response, national parks, the nation’s infrastructure, and the prosecution of violent criminals.
“Continued cuts will have consequences for every American, threatening the health, safety, and competitiveness of the United States,” the letter notes [PDF].
Executives from a number of associations spoke during the news conference, including Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey, who said the cuts would hit jobs hard.
“No one can say we weren’t forewarned about the consequences,” she said. “But we’re realistic enough to know that our voice alone won’t end it, and our choruses of voices is slowly gathering steam.”
Potential budget cuts were also a major point of conversation at the American Federation of Government Employees’ annual legislative meeting, which also took place on Monday and drew a crowd of 1,500 union members.
The event, Government Executive reported, focused heavily on what cuts would mean for the group’s members—including the possibility of furloughs for federal workers while contractors would remain unaffected.