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Sequestration Effect

A new analysis of the US federal budget sequestration plan that will be put into place at the beginning of 2013 if the US Congress cannot come to a deal on the budget deficit shows that there will be "devastating" effects on federal science agencies, says the Nature News Blog. The analysis, performed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget, shows that science programs will face an 8.2 percent funding cut, ScienceInsider adds. "[The] OMB report confirms the worst," says Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities in a statement. "A budget sequester in January would have a terrible short- and long-term impact on the nation's investments in scientific research and education."

According to the OMB report, the National Institutes of Health budget would be cut by about $2.5 billion, bringing its total to about $28.3 billion, while National Science Foundation would see about a $550 million cut in its budget, bringing its total budget to to about $5.9 billion, and the US Department of Energy's Office of Science's budget would be cut by about $400 million, giving it a total budget of about $4.5 billion.

The threat of such cuts, which will be made to defense and non-defense spending, is meant as a "negative incentive," the Nature News Blog notes. However, it adds that there is unlikely to be a budget agreement until after the November elections and that "by that point, [lawmakers] will have a scant few weeks to figure out a better plan"