NIH Losing $1.7 Billion, 700 Research Grants Due To Sequestration

Huffington Post
Sam Stein

WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health released an updated projection of the cuts it must make to deal with spending reductions put in place by sequestration, and the picture isn’t pretty.

While the National Cancer Institute received $5.06 billion in FY 2012, it is budgeted to receive only $4.77 billion in FY 2013. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ budget will fall from $2.42 billion to $2.29 billion, meanwhile, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ budget will fall from $574 million to $542 million. Overall, the NIH’s discretionary budget authority will go from $30.7 billion to $29 billion.

Removing $1.7 billion from a budget in a matter of months — sequestration passed in March 1 and will be felt through the end of September — is a dramatic exercise in spending reduction. Doing so requires harsh choices.

According to the agency, 750 fewer patients will be admitted into the NIH Clinical Center and 700 fewer competitive research grants will be issued in FY 2013 than in FY 2012. Existing grants will be paid out as scheduled but their amounts will be reduced by an average of 4.7 percent. This confirms the letter that the NIH sent on May 8, in which it warned that “non-competing continuation grants (research and non-research) including those that remain to be issued in FY 2013 likely will be made at levels below those indicated on the Notice of Award.”

The good news is that NIH does not currently plan to furlough its employees — it will be delaying hires and reducing administrative costs elsewhere instead. In addition, services to patients will not be reduced.

Head Start cuts kick in

The Scranton Times-Tribune
David Singleton

TAYLOR – Today is the final day of Head Start for nearly 1,200 children in four counties served through the Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency.

With $366,725 in automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester set to kick in next week, the SLHDA will have at least 74 fewer spots available for kids when Head Start programs resume in the fall.

As she watched children play Thursday during Taylor Hill Head Start’s Family Fun Day, Krista Vidota wondered aloud where it all will end.

“If they cut more, then what?” asked Ms. Vidota, who is president of SLHDA’s Head Start advisory council. “There are even more children cut. There are even more families struggling.”

For her and other families served by Head Start, these are uncertain times.

Metro Detroit's St. John Providence Health System says it's laying off 160 employees

David Muller

DETROIT, MI – St. John Providence Health System said in a new statement that its planned staff reduction will total 160 current employees by the end of June, which corresponds with the end of its 2013 fiscal year.

The company is also eliminating a number of open positions that have not yet been filled. Initial media reports indicated that St. John Providence’s layoffs could be in the hundreds.

“As St. John Providence Health System previously announced, we have for some time been systematically finding new ways to control costs while assuring high-quality, person-centered care,” the statement read. “As our fiscal year 2013 comes to a close, we are facing declining volumes due to diminishing reliance on inpatient care services, as well as sequestration shortfalls and lower reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare and other payers.”

It marks the latest development in the rapidly shifting healthcare sector both in Metro Detroit and throughout the country. Last month, the Detroit Medical Center announced that 300 employees will be affected by layoffs or a realignment of their positions. DMC officials said the cuts are due to the federal budget sequester, which included a 2 percent across-the-board reduction to Medicare. Lower state payments for Medicaid programs were also blamed.

US attorney says sequester may hurt Indian safety

Associated Press

BISMARCK — U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon says federal prosecutors have put a dent into crime on American Indian reservations in the last few years, but worries that budget mandates will slow the progress.

A Department of Justice report issued Thursday shows that the number Indian Country cases charged in federal court has increased by 54 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, from 1,091 to 1,677 cases.

Purdon says the ability of prosecutors to keep building on that work is “being thwarted” by the sequester cuts.

The top federal prosecutor for North Dakota says the Justice Department managed to temporarily avoided furloughs for 2013, but he fears that the budget situation will only get worse.

Furlough notices sent to 19,000-plus civilian Defense Department workers in Kentucky, Indiana

James R. Carroll

WASHINGTON — More than 19,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Kentucky and Indiana have begun receiving furlough notices this week, part of nationwide, automatic spending cuts required under a congressional budget agreement.

The furloughs will affect 8,756 workers in Kentucky and 10,318 employees in Indiana, according to a state-by-state analysis released Thursday by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

About 680,000 civilian employees face furloughs as part of across-the-board cuts required under a budget bill that took effect March 1, the Pentagon said.

The automatic spending cuts — a total of $85 billion this year shared by defense and nondefense programs — were created under a 2011 budget deal between the White House and Congress. The cuts, known as sequestration, are part of $1.2 trillion in reductions over the next nine years.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, said the hardships the furloughs will create as the result of the sequester are no surprise.

Job LossesPoverty
Federal sequester cuts will idle 8 North Iowa Community Action offices

Mason City Globe Gazette
Mary Pieper

MASON CITY — The North Iowa Community Action Organization’s eight outreach offices will be closed from June 1 through Aug. 15 due to the federal budget sequester.

The outreach offices are in Garner, Forest City, Osage, Hampton, Charles City, Manly, Algona and Clarksville.

The closing affects eight North Iowa Community Action employees.

Dick Goerdt, executive director of North Iowa Community Action, said applications for heating assistance and weatherization are normally taken at these offices.

The outreach offices also provide referrals to other agencies if North Iowa Community Action is not able to help someone with a particular service, he said.

Walter Reed hospital workers receive furlough notices


Furlough letters are going out to civilian employees who care for the nation’s wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

Hospital officials have confirmed that some employees have already received notice that they’ll be furloughed without pay for 11 days – one day a week for the next 11 weeks.

Other employees will be getting their letters soon.

Walter Reed says it’s not yet able to say exactly how many hospital employees are being furloughed — or how this will impact patient care.

The furloughs will begin July 8 and stem from the automatic budget cuts from sequestration.

Head Start to reduce days of service due to sequester cuts

Joangel Concepcion

Head Start is a federal program that provides educational and family services to low income children. Dozens of those kids enrolled in the program will lose five weeks of schooling this year and officials tell News10NBC sequester cuts are to blame.

The program has lost more than $700,000 and officials were faced with the decision to either cut staff or cut students. Instead, they came up with a temporary solution. Officials say the thought of cutting more than 70 students from this program was devastating. Since they knew the cuts were inevitable, they decided to go with a “Plan B.”

Instead of cutting students from the program or cutting dedicated staff members, the program will instead reduce the days of service.

Students under the half day curriculum will lose one week of school this semester and three weeks in the fall. The same goes for full-time students-but they will lose five weeks in total.

Officials say the students will get the same level of service regardless of the cuts. They are calling it a different approach so that these kids don’t miss out on the experiences they were getting to be ready for school.

Sequester Drags on GDP; No Help From Job Market


A drop in government spending dragged more on the U.S. economy than initially thought in the first three months of the year, a sign of increasing pain from Washington’s austerity drive.

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.4 percent annual rate during the period, down a tenth of a point from an initial estimate, according to revised figures from the Commerce Department released on Thursday. Analysts had forecast a 2.5 percent gain.

In other economic news, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but not enough to suggest a shift in the recent pattern of modest job gains.

Growth was held back as government spending fell across all levels of government and as businesses outside the farm sector stocked their shelves at a slower pace.

Washington has been tightening its belt for several years but ramped up austerity measures in 2013, hiking taxes in January and slashing the federal budget in March.

Sequester's effects being felt at Pentagon and beyond

Steve Handelsman

(NECN/NBC News: Steve Handelsman) – Sequestration is hitting the U.S. military.

Nearly 700,000 civilian Defense Department employees are being informed they will have to take unpaid leave, roughly one day a week, through the summer.

The furlough will mean more than half a billion dollars in lost wages in the just the three most affected states: Texas, California and Virginia, where the Pentagon is located.

Pentagon IT Specialist Randy Steiner got a notice.

“My kids are grown right so it’s not gonna impact me as much as some of my coworkers, who have little kids,” said Steiner.