03 January 2013 Fiscal Cliff Deal: The Good And The Bad Posted by: Mary Beth Beetham | Leave a comment | Share: Mary Beth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs I have been writing the last few months about the possible impacts on wildlife programs if Congress and the President failed to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and the automatic spending cuts that it would trigger. Well, as you have undoubtedly seen in the news, Congress did pass a deal and the President has signed it into law. But the deal has both good news and bad news for wildlife. The good news is that the deal has, for now, avoided the automatic cuts that would have been devastating to programs that protect endangered species, national wildlife refuges, forests and other habitat, migratory birds and species of global importance — all of the programs we have been talking about over the last few months. Programs vital to the many species that Defenders is constantly working to protect. Now the bad news. First, the deal only delayed the automatic cuts for a few months. Congress and the President must still reach an overall agreement on the budget and how to reduce the deficit in order to prevent the cuts from kicking in two months from now, in March. Second, as part of the deal to put off the deep, automatic cuts, the agreement locked in some smaller cuts for the next two years. We know that they will take place, but we will likely not know until the end of March exactly which programs will be affected even in the first year. What does all this mean? All of the programs that protect wildlife — all of which are already very inadequately funded — are still on the chopping block. We will continue to work very hard to oppose any further cuts to wildlife conservation, and we ask you to continue to reach out to your elected officials in Washington, DC and tell them to stand up in support of wildlife and oppose further cuts to programs that protect creatures who cannot speak for themselves. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in The Votes Are In… You voted, and we listened – now the winners of Defenders’ 2014 Photo Contest are here! See if your favorite won, and take a look at some of the amazing runner-ups. We’ve Got to Protect What’s Left of the Sagebrush Sea New research shows that after a fire, the Sagebrush Sea (home to the imperiled greater sage-grouse) could take up to 20 years to fully recover. With other factors already threatening so much of this habitat, what does that mean for the species that call it home? California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years.