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ADA, others ask Congress to avoid cuts to nondefense discretionary programs

February 22, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Association and more than 660 organizations are urging Congress to avoid making cuts to nondefense discretionary programs.

Nondefense discretionary — or NDD — programs include infrastructure and housing, veterans’ services, education and job training, national parks, medical and scientific research, public health, safety, and security. In the letter, the coalition stressed the need for legislators to avoid “making further reductions in these programs and work to replace the scheduled sequestration cuts through a package that is balanced — both in how such relief is paid for and how it is applied to defense and NDD programs.”

In a Feb. 22 letter to the Senate and House appropriation committees, the coalition asked Congress to consider the following:

  • “NDD programs support our economy, drive our global competitiveness, and help Americans lead healthy, productive lives. In fiscal year 2018, lawmakers should “continue to adhere to this ‘parity principle’ in fiscal policies, including a sequestration relief package.”
  • NDD programs have already been cut too much. “As a result of sequestration and other austerity measures enacted beginning in 2011, the cap on NDD funding in fiscal year 2017 is 13.4 percent below 2010 levels, adjusted for inflation. Without action to stop sequestration in 2018, NDD programs are projected to decline to 3.1 percent of the GDP—equal to the lowest level in more than 50 years.”
  • NDD cuts have consequences. “Deficit reduction measures enacted since 2010 have come overwhelmingly from spending cuts, with the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases far beyond those recommended by bipartisan groups of experts. And there is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation. Congress and the president must work together to protect NDD programs from further cuts and end sequestration.”

Other dental organizations that signed onto the letter include the American Dental Education Association, American Association for Dental Research, Friends of National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and Oral Health America.

Read the full letter here.