NIH sequester cuts will harm economy, advocates say
By Elise Viebeck
02/06/13 10:01 AM ET
Budget sequestration will curtail $3 billion in economic activity if cuts hit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on March 1, advocates said Tuesday.
Advocacy coalition United for Medical Research (UMR) released new figures
showing that the NIH supported more than 402,000 jobs and about $58 billion in economic output last year.
The group warned that if sequestration takes effect, 20,500 life science jobs would be lost along with $3 billion in economic activity.
"We cannot allow budget cuts, such as those looming from the sequester, to undermine the biomedical research enterprise, causing the loss of jobs and prosperity, as well as setting us back at a time when we are on the cusp of exciting new advances," said UMR President Carrie Wolinetz in a statement.
The group represents research institutions, private industry and a variety of patient and health advocates.
about sequestration have returned as the across-the-board cuts draw near, and President Obama demanded Tuesday that Congress act to protect the federal budget.
"There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy — not to mention the growth of the entire economy — should be put in jeopardy," Obama said
Lawmakers punted the reductions from Jan. 1 to March 1 in their deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" at the beginning of the year. The sequester was triggered by a congressional supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement on deficit reduction in 2011.
The NIH budget will be cut by 5.1 percent unless lawmakers act in the next month.