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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Safety Pens Mean Peace of Mind in Panther Country For Floridians who live alongside Florida panthers, coexistence means finding ways to protect both their beloved pets and these critically endangered cats. Building an enclosure is a great solution, especially for backyard animals. It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit?