Welcome to Fiscal Year 2014. As the clock strikes midnight without appropriations bills in place, our federal partners are beginning to shut down their operations. What does all this mean for your land trust and its partners? Here is a brief rundown of where things stand:
Federal Programs on Hold:
|Federal Partners from nearly a dozen agencies convened for lunch at Rally
We hope you had a chance to meet the many wonderful public servants who traveled to Rally in New Orleans to share their expertise and advice with land trusts interested in federal grant programs and other partnerships. Most existing grant obligations will continue to be paid; but new grants, federal assistance, and park operations will grind to a halt (see details
). Most federal employees will even be prohibited from volunteering their time or using their mobile devices. Please thank them for coming to Rally and offer your condolences for the impact of this shutdown on their work and families. Let us know how these unpredictable disruptions are impacting your land trust’s work – simply reply to this email.
Sequestration Getting Worse: Sequestration’s across-the-board cuts will grow to 7.2%, regardless of how Congress resolves this shutdown. When the fiscal cliff deal delayed sequestration, its FY13 impact shrunk to about 5%. Effective today, most domestic programs will be reduced to 7.2% below their appropriated or mandatory levels. Continued cuts will hamper natural resource programs that comprise just 1.26% of the federal budget and have grown just 2% over the last 30 years, yet support 12.8 million jobs and over $1.7 trillion in economic activity.
The Good News – Disproportionate Cuts Recede from Debate:
Just three months ago, House appropriators sought to eliminate all funding for land conservation
. Fortunately, that bill stalled in committee and broader concerns regarding health care and the debt limit have dominated recent debate. At least so far, few have insisted on severe program cuts in the current negotiations.
A Short-term Continuing Resolution Won’t Fix Everything:
As Lynne Sherrod reported
on Monday, the Farm Bill extension also expires tonight and a full-year agreement on Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations is nowhere in sight. Even if Congress sends feds back to work in a matter of hours or days, it is likely that the grants programs land trusts rely on will remain on hold until the farm bill and FY14 appropriations are resolved. The Alliance is working hard to represent land trusts and their priorities in meetings with Congressional staff and key partners on these issues. Follow @SeanFundingAdv
on twitter for the latest updates.
So what can you do to help the programs you care about? With many congressional staffers furloughed and the remainder quite distracted, the routine communications channels for constituent input are breaking down. Now more than ever, legislators and their staff are paying attention to the people they know and trust. Make it your business to know who among your board members, supporters, and partners is close with your legislators -- and make sure they are talking about your priorities. Visit our advocacy tips webpage
for tools to strengthen your relationships before the next crisis hits.
Thank you for being part of our Federal Funding Advocates team.
P.S. This email list is for land trust leaders that are interested in federal funding for conservation. Please let me know if there are others at your land trust or other Alliance members in your region who would like to subscribe.
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