News & Analysis2013 U.S. Budget

Big or Small, Science Will Suffer If Sequestration Goes Into Effect

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Science  17 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6096, pp. 786-787
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6096.786

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For U.S. scientists doing research supported by the federal government, the 2013 fiscal year, which begins on 1 October, could be catastrophic. The Budget Control Act, passed in August 2011 to avert a federal default, created a congressional commission, which last fall came up with a long-term strategy to reduce the country's $1.5 trillion annual deficit. But Congress failed to adopt the commission's recommendations, triggering a decade of mandatory spending cuts totaling $1.2 trillion. The first bite—$110 billion across all agencies, divided equally between military and civilian programs—is scheduled to take effect on 2 January. The uncertainty has left federal agencies groping in the dark.