Members of the academic community and the private sector joined to discuss the impact of sequestration on the American workforce

December 3, 2013

Today, members of the academic and private community gathered in Washington DC to discuss a new report that sets forth projections for the economic impact of sequestration in FY 2014. They also shared insight into their particular experiences with sequestration. 

The diverse expert panel consisted of representatives from the Association of American Universities (AAU), Non-Decretionary Defense United, Northrop Grumman, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

aaas panel
There were a number of noteworthy points made during the event:

  • The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) issued letters to President Obama, House Majority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed and members of the bicameral budget committee, calling for a stop to sequestration policy.
  • An Association of American Universities survey reported that among top research universities: 70% delays in research projects and 70% experienced reductions in the number of new research grants. Also, 50% cited reductions and layoffs in temp/part-time staff positions and 55% reported reductions in student positions, including those for graduate students.
  • A new National Science Foundation (NSF) report found that the constant dollar higher education spending on research and development decreased 1.1% in FY 2012. This is the first time that constant dollar spending has failed to increase since 1974.
  • The first round of sequestration has resulted in $1.3 trillion in cuts. The second round will cut another $800 billion. 
  • The lobbyist for the panelists’ organizations report a shared bipartisan belief that sequestration in very bad policy but fail to agree on the appropriate solution for the country’s debt problem. Republican lawmakers see entitlement cuts and reform as the solution, while Democrats see additional revenue by way of tax reform as the solution.
  • There are a few ways in which the second round of sequestration will be different from the first:
    • Forward funded programs that did not experience cuts in 2013 will experience them in 2014.
    • National security institutes (especially the DoD and NSA) will face larger funding cuts in 2014
    • Universities that have been tapping into their endowments for short-term program funding will be eventually have to start scaling back or eliminating research programs.
    • One report estimates 1,010,000 in private sector job loss for 2014, resulting in a reduction of corporate partnership funding for universities.

Javier Hernandez, FIU Federal Relations