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July 11, 2012 - Presidents and chancellors of 154 leading universities from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia today urged President Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders to prevent deep across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect in January as a result of budget sequestration, and to reach "a major, balanced long-term deficit-reduction agreement that will reduce budget deficits, rein in the nation’s debt, and create economic and job growth..."
In a letter that went to the White House and the offices of the Democratic and Republican leadership in the House and Senate, along with key committee chairs and ranking members, the higher education leaders called sequestration “an undiscerning and blunt budget tool that would substantially harm our nation’s future by blindly slashing valuable investments in education and scientific research, as well as other important discretionary programs that provide health, economic and national security.”
“A prudent and effective deficit reduction agreement,” they wrote, should “seriously and thoughtfully address” entitlement programs and should include “substantial tax reform that is designed both to encourage economic growth and to raise revenues needed to reduce the deficit…”
The presidents and chancellors who signed the letter represent a diverse cross-section of the nation’s university community, including such institutions as Harvard University, The Ohio State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Dakota State University, Stanford University, and the University of Florida.
All of the university leaders that signed the letter belong to the Association of American Universities (AAU) and/or the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A۰P۰L۰U). AAU is a nonprofit association of leading private and public research universities. A۰P۰L۰U is a research and advocacy organization of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems.
The leaders cited bipartisan support for maintaining investments in research and education even as action is taken to reduce deficits and control the nation’s debt. They cited the majority report of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission, which, while recommending comprehensive action to reduce spending and raise revenues, stated that “we must invest in education, infrastructure, and high-value research and development to help our economy grow, keep us globally competitive, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs.”
The university letter can be found here.
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