This July, the Children's Mental Health Network signed a letter urging Congress and the President to work together to avoid sequestration—deep, across the board cuts to core programs and services scheduled to take effect January 2, 2013 if policymakers fail to act. These “nondefense discretionary” or “NDD” programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.
- Conversations about how to address the “fiscal cliff” and avoid sequestration are happening NOW. It’s hard to believe, but it’s possible that a plan to avoid sequestration could actually be worse for NDD programs than sequestration itself.
- We need your help educating policymakers that NDD programs have already done their part to reduce the deficit, as enacted through the bipartisan Budget Control Act of August 2011. And that any plan to reduce the deficit should include no more cuts to NDD.
Here is what you can do on December 10th. Remember that we have moved away from just saying "avoid sequestration." Please revise your message to say "avoid continued cuts." This helps promote the message to policymakers that NDD programs have already been cut enough:
- The key message: we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs. These programs have already contributed to deficit reduction through the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA) and prior spending cuts.
We strongly urge Network faithful to do whatever possible on December 10, including:
- Calls and emails to congressional offices (Use our Share Your Voice page)
- Letters to policymakers, reflecting the updated message (See our example here)
- Tweets are a great way of getting our message out to policymakers. Check out these great tips and sample Tweets for you to use on Twitter and Facebook, available here. Please make sure you include the Twitter handle of the Member of Congress you are tweeting in your message. This ensures that the member will get a notification of being “mentioned” in your message and will see what you’ve sent. Use our "Tweet your legislator" page or to see a complete list of members and their twitter handles as well as other social media accounts, please see these House & Senate lists.
- We have mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning again - the NDD Grassroots Toolkit is a great resource for you to use in your local engagement activities, including a brief video about sequestration, FAQs, sample editorials, etc. Through this site you can also access “impact examples” that detail the impact of continued cuts—and cuts made to date—on NDD programs and the people they serve.
Thank you for your help promoting this effort. Go get 'em Network faithful!