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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Editorial: Students will suffer from sequestration

Sequestration, enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, went into effect on March 1. As part of the deal reached in 2011 regarding the debt ceiling, $85.4 billion in cuts will be enacted, slashing budgets for federal agencies across the board.

This is bad news for the United States, for California, for UC Davis and for us. It is the ill-begotten child of a dysfunctional congress that places politics and dogma above proven facts and the nation’s well being. It will have dire consequences for the University of California and its students.

We must hold our elected officials accountable.There is a problem when so many Americans find Congress less favorable than lice, Genghis Khan and colonoscopies.There is a problem when those in charge of the nation don’t seem to care.

More than $335 million in federal research support, the lifeblood of scientific research, will be lost as a result of the sequestration, according to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP).

And according to The Davis Enterprise, UC Davis took in over $400 million of federal grants in 2011, accounting for approximately half of the total grant money coming in. The federal agencies responsible for these grants will be on the chopping block, facing budget cuts of 8 to 10 percent.

This translates to cutting researchers, fewer grants, less research and the death of a generation of scientists, Jodi Nunari, professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, said to The Enterprise.

The sequestration will place higher education even further out of reach for many. Over 12,990 California college students will lose their financial aid or work study, the White House stated in a press release.

Federal Work Study will be cut. Loans made after July 1 will see an increase in fees. Pell Grants will be reduced beginning 2014. Students will be hurt.

We are looking at the result of a series of manufactured crises where the Republican-led Congress took the nation hostage until its demands were met.

The debt ceiling crisis of 2011, precipitated by newly elected Tea Party congressmen, led to the credit agency Standard & Poor downgrading the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+.

As part of the compromise to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debts, the sequestration was planned for the 2013 fiscal year if there was no bipartisan legislation to reduce the budget deficit.

Bipartisan legislation was not produced, leading to the fiscal cliff at the end of 2012. A compromise was not reached until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, after weeks of fruitless debate. The solution was simple: avoid the hard decisions and work by putting it off for another three months.

Now we’re back to where we started: hurtling off the fiscal cliff.

Thank you, Congress.

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