Close the Innovation Deficit One year after they launched a campaign to urge the US Congress and the President to close the nation’s innovation deficit, a group of prominent higher education, scientific, and business organizations, including the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), today renewed their call for increased federal investments in research to build a strong long-term economy, improve medical treatments, and strengthen national security. As Congress prepares to break for its August recess, leaving key FY 2015 funding decisions to be addressed in September, leaders from those organizations today are conducting a coordinated nationwide effort to communicate the need to close the innovation deficit.
Close the Innovation DeficitOn April 29, 2014, the US Senate Appropriations Committee conducted a hearing on the “innovation deficit” in which the heads of the nation’s major research agencies jointly testified on the need for federal research investments to drive innovation and economic growth. ARL joined a group of 50 leading business, higher education, scientific, and patient organizations in submitting written testimony (PDF) that urged members of the committee to make strong, sustained investments in research in order to close the innovation deficit.
image © Katie HarbathThe US House of Representatives and the US Senate on January 16, 2014, approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which will fund the federal government through FY 2014. President Obama signed the legislation, averting yet another government shut down. The Consolidated Appropriations Act restores some but not all of the budget lines cut in the sequester.
On Wednesday, December 4, ARL joined 469 national organizations in urging the US Congress to replace sequestration with a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction, citing that "Nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities and neighbors" and that "these programs have been cut dramatically and disproportionately in recent years as lawmakers work to reduce the deficit."
Letter to Congress (PDF)
image © Wally GobetzOn Wednesday, December 4, ARL joined 469 national organizations in a letter (PDF) urging the US Congress to replace sequestration with a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction. The organizations stated, “the budget conference opens a critical window to finally enact a responsible fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget that replaces sequestration and reinvests in our eroding national priorities…The deficit reduction enacted over the past few years has come overwhelmingly from discretionary spending cuts at ratios far beyond those recommended by bipartisan, deficit reduction groups of experts…relief from sequestration must be equally balanced between NDD (nondefense discretionary) and defense programs, as strong investments in both NDD and defense programs are necessary to keep our country competitive, safe, and secure.”
On November 1, 2013, ARL joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and more than 30 other organizations in a letter to the chairs of the US congressional committee deliberating a budget agreement. The letter states, “as you begin your discussions on a budget agreement for FY14, the higher education associations listed below encourage you to pursue two key goals: 1) eliminating the FY14 sequester reductions; and 2) placing a high priority on the investments that will build our economy in both the short and long term."
On October 9, 2013, ARL joined more than 300 universities and businesses; higher education associations; and nonprofit, industry, and research organizations in a letter to US Senate Commerce Committee leadership supporting reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. The COMPETES Act promotes innovation through research and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States. The legislation is focused on the activities and programs of several agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NDD United: Stop the Cuts videoNDD United—a campaign representing 3,200 organizations, including ARL, working to stop budget cuts to core US government functions—has released a 3-minute video that explains the impact of disproportionate cuts in non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, including education, employment and training, research, public health, public safety, housing, social services, infrastructure, and environmental protection.
The nearly 3000 undersigned national, state, and local organizations—representing the hundreds of millions of Americans who support and benefit from nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs—strongly urge a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, which have already done their part to reduce the deficit.