Update: Jocelyn Kaiser notes that the House appropriations committee draft bill for Labor, HHS, and Education gives the NIH a 3.3% increase (!!) over FY11 funding levels while maintaining funding for NCRR (including $100M boost in its IDeA program) and not incorporating NCATS or CAN (but allowing $2M in the OD to go toward planning). Stay tuned as the sausage continues to be made.
Last week, the Committee reduced the NSF’s appropriation by $162M (2.4% cut from FY11), which would reduce funding for NSF’s 6 research directorates by $120M, to $5.44B, and spending on education by $32M, to $829M. The Committee’s proposal gives the NSF the flexibility to move up to $100M from other pots into the facilities budget (maintained at $224M), which will likely happen to maintain progress on various NSF initiatives. The House bill would maintain NSF’s overall budget at 2011 levels but shrink the facilities account to $100M.
The NIH fared no better in Committee, which cut their appropriation by $190M to $30.5B. The Senate bill also provides for the creation of NCATS (including $20M for CAN), which the National Review opined amounts to Obama Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the elimination of NCRR. The House never got its act together on its corresponding appropriations bill. Could be worse. Could be raining.
Actually, while a cut of any size to the NIH budget is unprecedented, it could indeed be worse, given the current fiscal climate, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) makes a nice plug for research funding (especially the need for consistency and continuity) in The Hill, so the NIH does still have vocal advocates among the ranks. About now would be a good time to let your Congressional delegation know the importance of maintaining research funding levels – at least steady if the appropriation cannot be increased.
Neither the full House nor the Senate has voted on any appropriations bills, though the House just rejected the proposed CR, which would have funded the federal government through Nov 18th at 1.5% below FY11 levels. Once again, a federal shut-down looms. Could be worse. Could be …