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The Clock is Ticking on Sequestration


December 3, 2012

With only three weeks left in the 112th Congress and less than a month to go before the deadline for the “fiscal cliff,” the White House and congressional leaders have made little progress  in addressing the expiring tax cuts and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to discretionary programs known as sequestration. While sequestration is only a part of the larger fiscal cliff, it will have the greatest impact on funding for CTE. If Congress does not act by January 2, sequestration will result in an 8.2 percent reduction in funding for most federal discretionary programs. This means that Perkins stands to lose approximately $92 million in July 2013 alone!  

Last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with congressional leaders to present the White House’s proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. The plan includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue generated by allowing income tax rates on those who earn over $250,000 to go up, along with increases in the estate tax and capital gains tax. It still calls for $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts, but would replace the automatic, across-the-board sequestration cuts. The plan would also extend the Social Security payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits. 

Congressional Republicans have rejected the plan, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) countering that the White House had not put forward a serious offer and is not negotiating in good faith. Republicans continue to resist increasing tax rates and argue that the spending reductions in the proposal utilize too many budgetary gimmicks that will not reduce deficits. President Obama has also requested unilateral power to increase the federal debt ceiling, which currently requires congressional approval. He also wants an additional $50 billion for a multiyear stimulus program—a nonstarter for Republicans who have consistently criticized his earlier stimulus package for being ineffective in boosting the economy.  

We will continue to keep you updated with new developments from Washington. You can find more information on our sequestration web page.  

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The Association for Career and Technical Education is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 25,000 members; career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels. ACTE provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information on career and technical education, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders.

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