What is sequestration?
Sequestration is the term for the arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to the the federal budget that were instituted as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which came about during the debate over raising the debt ceiling.
The intent of the provision was to institute deep cuts to the federal budget that were equally split between domestic programs and defense programs. The arbitrary nature of the cuts was meant to be so distasteful to both parties that it would motivate action to avert the cuts and compromise on a plan for comprehensive deficit reduction. After the failure of the "Supercommittee," the cuts remained in place to take effect on January 1, 2013. This deadline was delayed to March 1 in the deal to avert the fiscal cliff. As the March 1 deadline has come and gone without additional action, sequestration is now in effect.
Due to the uncertainty leading up to the fiscal cliff and the extended March 1 deadline, many nonprofits that have contracts with governments at the federal, state, and local levels have been dealing with uncertainty and delays in renewal of those contracts for months.
GiveVoice.org was created to provide nonprofits a place to share information on how sequestration is affecting their operations. The effects are more wide-ranging than simple budget cuts. We anticipate significant increases in demand for nonprofit services as millions of workers across the country are furloughed or laid off. Budget cuts will be compounded as states and localities that received funding from the federal government look for ways to plug new holes in their budgets by further cutting funds that had gone to nonprofits in the past or seeking to implement new fees and attacks on nonprofit tax exemptions. Further, with less income and more uncertainty about their jobs, people will have less to donate to local nonprofits. This perfect storm of factors will severely damage nonprofits' continuing abilities to serve their communities.
We urge all nonprofits to share how these cuts are having an effect on their operations and spread the word to other nonprofit staff members, board members, volunteers, and people served by their nonprofit. The more these stories are relayed to our elected officials and the media, the greater the understanding of the true human costs of what has been happening. Help us raise the voices of those in our communities that it is time for Congress and the President to get back to work, fix the sequester, return to regular order for the federal budget, and ensure no more harm is done to our communities.
To learn more about how the potential cuts under sequestration and attempts to avoid tax hikes will impact nonprofits and the communities they serve in your state, view the resources below
- Statement from National Council of Nonprofits President and CEO Tim Delaney on Sequestration Cuts and the Damage to Nonprofits Serving Local Communities
- Special Report: The Fiscal Cliff’s Twin Threats Against the Work of Charities
- Fiscal Cliff Components, National Council of Nonprofits
- State-by-State Analyses of the Impact of the Arbitrary Spending Cuts
- Estimated Impact of Sequesters, Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS)
- State-by-state details of cuts, Washington Post presentation of figures released by the White House
- A Comprehensive Sequester Primer; Washington Post, February 24, billed as answering “absolutely everything you could possibly need to know, in one FAQ,” the article summarizes the history, highlights notable program cuts, and reveals strategies of the partisans.
- Estimated Cuts in Federal Housing Assistance and Community Development Programs Due to Sequestration, 2013, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, March 5, 2013
- Under Threat: Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services, Report prepared for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
- The Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on the States, Pew Center on the States
- Poverty: 2010 and 2011, U.S. Census
- Sequestration and the Impact on State Child Welfare Budgets, CWLA
- Impact of Sequestration on Federal Education Programs, NEA
- The Negative Employment Impact of the Medicare Cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, American Hospital Association
- Day One on the Edge of the Human Cliff, Tim Delaney
- Nonprofits Must Put a Human Face on Suffering to Avoid the ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Tim Delaney