Urge Your Members of Congress to Support a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

 

As you know, Congress recently passed legislation (H.R. 2775) to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling.  Though it was a hard fought agreement, the deadlines it sets do not allow much breathing room for influencing the budget.  Lawmakers agreed to produce an FY2014 budget resolution by December 13, extend government funding for FY2014 through January 15, and suspend the debt limit through February 7.

We urge you to contact your Members of Congress to support a responsible FY 2014 budget that replaces sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.  As costly and harmful as the shutdown was, an even more critical issue remains to be resolved—the level of funding for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and how to replace sequestration. These levels are simply too low to address the tremendous need for mental health and addiction services and supports.

These timelines will be upon us before we know it.  We urge you to contact your Members of Congress today with the simple message that the FY2014 sequestration levels are too low to increase service capacity for those experiencing mental health and substance use conditions, especially at a time when there has been such a sustained national dialogue on behavioral health issues.

 

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Support a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

Dear [Decision Maker],

I urge you to support a responsible FY 2014 budget that replaces sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The FY2014 sequestration levels are simply too low to increase service capacity for those experiencing mental health and substance use conditions, especially at a time when there has been such a sustained national dialogue on behavioral health issues.

As costly and harmful as the shutdown was, an even more critical issue remains to be resolved--the level of funding for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and how to replace sequestration. Sequestration by design cuts programs deeply and indiscriminately. Both parties agree it was never meant to happen. Without a comprehensive and balanced solution, sequestration will keep happening for the next nine years. This comes on top of deep cuts enacted in the Budget Control Act over the next decade.

If you voted for H.R. 2775, I strongly commend your vote in favor of reopening the federal government and raising the debt ceiling. In so doing, you avoided default, put 800,000 furloughed federal employees back to work, reinstated clinical trials and flu surveillance, allowed much needed behavioral health services and supports to reach communities, and restored all other critical government functions. If you did not vote in favor of H.R. 2775, I would urge you to reconsider and support a balanced approach that will help your constituents in need of mental health and addiction services and supports.

I believe that Congress should pass a clean, short-term continuing resolution (CR), as well as provisions to raise the debt ceiling allowing the federal government to reopen while also funding commitments already incurred by the U.S. Congress. I urge you to build on the bipartisan support of H.R. 2775 by supporting a responsible FY 2014 budget that replaces sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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