It turns out, they like us, or so they say. Biomedical researchers should take note that for the second year in a row, U.S. Senate appropriators have declared funding the National Institutes of Health a...
The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) is grateful to Congress for their past support and extraordinary investment in medical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
It is in the interest of our nation to support the NIH and the NSF. Members of Congress should oppose any efforts that weaken the biomedical enterprise.
I. NIH funding is key to enhancing the health and well-being of all Americans through new treatments and cures.
II. Funding for NIH and the NSF strengthens the U.S. economy.
III. Flat funding of the NIH puts a generation of science and scientists at risk1
IV. Our standing as the world leader in biomedical research will be compromised2.
V. General points
1Information from "A Broken Pipeline," www.brokenpipeline.org
2"Leadership in Decline", United for Medical Research
MEDICAL RESEARCH FUNDING FOR FY 2015
Status of the FY15 budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation
In December 2013, Congress reached a two-year budget agreement that restored most of the funds lost by sequester. The agreement delivered $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and nondefense programs.
Under the agreement, the NIH received a $1 billion increase bringing the annual funding level for FY14 to $29.9 billion. This amount did not fully restore the cuts lost to sequestration; it still represents $714 million less than what was enacted prior to sequestration in FY12.
Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.
Appropriations for FY15
Every year Congress must pass 12 appropriations bills. These bills fund all of the federal domestic programs (not programs such as Social Security or Medicare) including the NSF and NIH. All appropriations bills must be signed into law by October 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. If an appropriations bill does not meet this deadline, Congress must pass an extension bill that provides funding at the previous year's level, known as a Continuing Resolution or a CR.
The Labor/Health and Human Services/Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill funds the NIH. The Labor/HHS bill is the largest non-defense appropriations bill and one of the most controversial.
The Senate Labor/HHS Subcommittee bill recommends funding the NIH at $30.5 billion, an increase of $605 million. The full Senate has not yet voted on this bill.
The House Labor/HHS Committee has not debated its Labor/HHS appropriations bill. It is expected that a Labor/HHS bill will not be considered until after the elections in November.
The NSF is funded under the appropriations bill called Commerce/Justice/Science or CJS. The House passed the CJS bill with a proposed funding level of $7.4 billion for the NSF, which is $232 million above FY14. The proposed Senate CJS bill provides $7.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), an increase of $83 million over fiscal year 2014. The full Senate has not yet voted on this bill.
MEDICAL RESEARCH FUNDING FOR FY 2014
Status of the FY14 budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation
Readers should note sequestration cuts—across the board cuts in all federal programs—went into effect in March 2013. This means NIH and NSF saw a 5% across the board cut to all their programs. Unless a deal is struck to replace sequestration, all federal programs will continue to experience draconian cuts for the next nine budget years. Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.
Administration’s Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, President Obama submitted to Congress his FY14 budget request. The proposed budget suggests funding the NIH at $31.3 billion and the NSF at $7.6 billion. President Obama’s budget also calls for a repeal of sequestration.
Congress’ Budget Proposals
The House and the Senate introduced and passed vastly different budget resolutions. The budget resolutions do not need to be a uniformed document before Congress begins the budget priority setting for the next fiscal year. The priority setting is done through the annual appropriations bills—or spending bills—which do have to be agreed to and signed by the President. The budget resolution is more like a guiding document.
Here’s how the House and Senate budget resolutions differ:
The House FY14 Budget Resolution proposes to balance the federal budget in 10 years without raising additional taxes. Among the ways it proposes to do so are by extending the limits on discretionary spending for an additional two years (through FY23), repealing the health care law, and turning Medicare into a voucher support system. The plan, developed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would limit domestic discretionary spending in FY14 to $414 billion, which is more than $50 billion less than it would be under both the Budget Control Act (BCA) cap and the sequester. Defense programs would receive $552 billion, which CQ.com reports would essentially wipe out the effects of the sequester.
The Senate FY14 Budget Resolution, in sharp contrast to the House budget plan, would raise tax revenues by about $975 billion and cut spending by about the same amount over the next 10 years. The Democratic plan, which does not aim to balance the federal budget, also calls for replacing the sequester with a mix of different spending cuts and tax increases, and adds $100 billion in new spending on infrastructure and job training. Among other savings, the package calls for reducing defense spending by $240 billion over 10 years and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by $142 billion over that period.
Appropriations for FY14
The House released its funding allocations for FY14. There are 12 annual appropriations bills and each appropriations measure has its own allotment. The subcommittee that oversees the spending cannot spend above the limit provided to it by the House leadership.
The House Labor/Health and Human Services/Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NIH received a sum of $121.8 billion. The $121.8 billion spending limit for the Labor/HHS Subcommittee is a $28 billion reduction from the FY 2013 sequestration level. A reduction this large (18.6%), if implemented, would mean additional significant cuts for NIH and other programs under the Labor/HHS Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. If one assumes an 18.6% cut for all programs this would mean a cut of nearly $5.4 billion for NIH in FY14. By way of comparison, the proposed FY14 Labor/HHS bill is $42 billion less than the FY10 total.
Meanwhile the Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the NSF received $46 billion. This is about $5 billion less than the FY13 allocation.
The Senate has not distributed their allocations, though the allocation are not expected to be as draconian as the House figures. Coming to an agreement on funding levels will be difficult and we could once again see Congress passing multiple continuing resolutions or threatening government shutdowns.
 AAU Weekly Wrap-Up, March 22, 2013
The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) is grateful to Congress for recognizing the importance of the nation’s investment in medical research. CLS urges Congress to continue its historic support for biomedical research by not passing any additional cuts that would further impair the current state of research.
Readers should note that sequestration is a very real threat to the research enterprise. Most of the appropriations work (see updates below) is finished until early in 2013. Yet sequestration must be acted on prior to January 2013 or draconian cuts will be imposed on the whole research enterprise. Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.
Status of the FY13 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) Appropriations