February 22, 2013

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Letters to Congress and the Administration
Academic Pharmacy Now - Capitol Hill News
AACP Advocacy Updates and Alerts

February 22, 2013 

The hour draws nigh: With March 1, 2013 is just a week away! You must now make an all out effort to bring the disastrous approach to deficit reduction through sequestration from happening!


1. Call or email the members of your U.S. Congressional delegation.
2. The zip code search is mid‐way down the House of Representatives member Web page.
3. Access the Senate member list Web page.
4. Making a phone call:

  • Introduce yourself to the individual answering the phone.
  • Ask to speak with the Legislative Director.
  • Introduce yourself to the Legislative Director, making sure to identify yourself as a faculty member at [ABC] college/school of pharmacy.
  • Tell that Legislative Director‐ I need [Congressman NAME, Senator NAME] to support efforts to avert the sequester. [This is the ONLY message you need to share, unless you are willing to describe how a 9% reduction in federal funding will personally impact your research or other federally supported activities]
  • Ask the Legislative Director‐ Does [Congressman NAME, Senator NAME] support efforts to avert the sequester?
  • If the Legislative Director asks for more information:
  • Thank the Legislative Director for their time.
  • Share the response of the Legislative Director with Will Lang at wlang@aacp.org.

5. Sending an email

  • The email address for Representatives and Senators can be found on their individual Web pages or the member lists. See bullets 2 and 3 above for links to the Web pages that will provide that information. You may be required to navigate through additional Web pages and provide specific information to send an email.
  • Copy Will Lang at wlang@aacp.org on any email you send.
  • Text of an email:

    As a faculty member at ABC College of Pharmacy I ask you to support efforts to avert sequestration. I ask that you support a balanced approach to deficit reduction in order to decrease the deficit. If you would like additional information please feel free to contact Will Lang, VP of Policy and Advocacy with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy at wlang@aacp.org or 703‐739‐2330 x1038.

    Your name

Post March 1 action: Efforts to avert the sequester will continue right up until March 1st. It is currently assumed that sequestration WILL OCCUR. In a meeting with White House leaders this week advocates were told that agencies are preparing documents that will describe how the funding reductions will take place. The process of sequestration requires each agency to reduce each program, project and activity (PPA) within their accounts by an equal percentage. That percentage is about 5% on an annualized basis. But, since we are nearly half way through FY13 the actual impact will be nearly a 9% reduction since the total reduction must now be accomplished from March 1 through September 30, 2013. Agencies like the NIH have very few PPAs so it may have greater ability to parcel out the overall agency reduction. Other agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have hundreds of PPAs and therefore will have less ability to parcel out the overall agency reductions.

The impact on states, communities and individuals may be more acutely felt if there are dependent on funding from agencies that have substantial numbers of PPAs. NIH supported researchers will eventually be impacted, but it is programs like AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, funding for community health centers, immunization programs, food inspection programs and the like that will be impacted the quickest.

Therefore, when you know, see, or can describe the impact of the specific PPA reduction in your state, community or with individuals IMMEDIATELY SHARE THAT INFORMATION with Will Lang at wlang@aacp.org.

This post‐sequester impact information will be essential for supporting efforts to restore lost funding through the congressional action necessary to fund the federal government after the current continuing resolution expires on March 27.

Preparing for the sequester: With the March 1 deadline for across the board reductions for almost every federal program fast approaching, federal agencies are attempting to determine how they will respond and comply with the funding reductions. The approach an agency will take is not well described, at least not to the satisfaction of those that will be impacted by these cuts. Here are the most recent instructions and responses from which some insight can be gleaned.

In a memo from the Office to Management and Budget, federal agency heads were asked to “intensify efforts to identify actions that may be required should sequestration occur.” The subject of the January 14, 2013 memo was: Planning for Uncertainty with Respect to Fiscal Year 2013 Budgetary Resources.

The memo asks the agency heads to "adhere to the following guiding principles…":

  • use any available flexibility to reduce operational risks and minimize impacts on the agency's core mission in service of the American people;
  • identify and address operational challenges that could potentially have a significant deleterious effect on the agency's mission or otherwise raise life, safety, or health concerns;
  • identify the most appropriate means to reduce civilian workforce costs where necessary this may include imposing hiring freezes, releasing temporary employees or not renewing term or contract hires, authorizing voluntary separation incentives and voluntary early retirements, or implementing administrative furloughs…; consistent with Section 3(a)(ii) of Executive Order 13522, allow employees' exclusive representatives to have pre‐decisional involvement in these matters to the fullest extent practicable;
  • review grants and contracts to determine where cost savings may be achieved in a manner that is consistent with the applicable terms and conditions, remaining mindful of the manner in which individual contracts or grants advance the core mission of the agency;
  • take into account funding flexibilities, including the availability of reprogramming and transfer authority; and,
  • be cognizant of the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101‐2109.

Letters from individual federal agencies responding to the request of the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman, Barbara Mikulski (D‐MD) of the impact of sequestration of agency funding are available on the committee Web site.

Of interest to colleges and schools of pharmacy:

Higher education:

The Pell Grant program is exempt from sequestration.
No additional reductions would be from current federal student financial assistance programs (Stafford, Perkins) but there would be an increase in origination fees for new loans made after the date of the sequester.
There would be reductions in the administrative costs associated with loan servicing. Staff reductions are likely to occur at loan servicing sites which could compromise timely payment processing. Staff reductions at the U.S. Department of Education could compromise grant awards to eligible institutions receiving work‐study and other campus‐based programs.

Public Health and Scientific Research:

“Reduced funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including user fees, could increase risks to our nation's food safety. FDA would conduct approximately 2,100 fewer domestic and foreign facility inspections of firms that manufacture food products to verify that domestic and imported foods meet safety standards. These reductions may increase the risk of safety incidents, and the public may suffer more food‐borne illness such as the recent salmonella in peanut butter outbreak and the E. coli illnesses linked to organic spinach.

Cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) due to sequestration would delay progress on the prevention of debilitating chronic conditions that are also costly to society and on the development of
more effective treatments for common and rare diseases affecting millions of Americans. In general, NIH grant funding within states, including Maryland, will likely be reduced due to both reductions to existing grants and fewer new grants. We expect that some existing research projects could be difficult to pursue at reduced levels and some new research could be postponed as NIH would make hundreds fewer awards. Actual funding reductions will depend on the final mix of projects chosen to be supported by each Institute and Center within available resources. With each research award supporting up to seven research positions, several thousand research positions across the nation could be eliminated.”

National Science Foundation:

The NSF would hope to adhere to the following principles:

  • Protect commitments to NSF’s core mission and maintain existing awards;
  • Protect the NSF workforce; and
  • Protect STEM human capital development.


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Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising all accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy including more than 6,400 faculty, 57,000 students enrolled in professional programs and 5,700 individuals pursuing graduate study, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education.

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