Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), a member of the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, introduced an amendment to Senator Murray’s budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2014, to increase NIH funding by $1.4 billion. Senator Moran stated that, adjusted for inflation, the NIH budget in Fiscal Year 2012 was $3.6 billion less than Fiscal Year 2003, when NIH funding was at its highest. The graph below shows that NIH funding in constant dollars, i.e. after adjusting for inflation, has constantly decreased over the years. Note that this graph does not account for the sequestration cuts that cost the NIH more than $1.6 billion or -5.1% over the next six months. Voting on the budget resolution began over the weekend. The budget resolution and Senator Moran’s amendment passed. However, given that the Senate budget resolution is dramatically different from what was passed by the House, additional pressure will be needed to preserve the content of the Moran amendment in the House.
Senate Budget Chair, Patty Murray (D-WA), released her budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts on October 1st. This Senate resolution is a sharp contrast to the budget resolution released by the House Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-WI). While both resolutions have requested $966 billion for discretionary spending, Senator Murray requested $497 billion for defense, and $469 billion for non-defense (non-defense covers education, NIH, FDA, CDC, and others). Representative Ryan requested $522 billion for defense and $414 billion for non-defense. This means that the difference in allocations for non-defense between the two resolutions is $55 billion, or 13% more than what Ryan’s budget requested for non-defense. The House and Senate will likely proceed on with the FY14 appropriations process without agreeing on top-line budget numbers, instead opting to assign budget allocations to agencies and programs within their respective top-line caps. At the end of the process, we are likely to see appropriations bills produced with dramatically different numbers — between House and Senate versions — for agencies such as NIH and NSF.
House of Representatives Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-WI), released a 10-year spending plan on Tuesday. The plan claims to balance the federal budget within the next 10 years, through deep cuts of roughly $4.6 trillion, which is more than the entire federal budget for FY 2012. The plan imposes extreme cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, which include line-items such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Head Start, education, and air traffic control. These cuts will take place by imposing a 414-billion-dollar cap on non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2014, which starts on October 1st. To put this into perspective, this cap means that about $167 billion will be cut from these programs in FY 2014, accounting for the sequester cuts that took effect on March 1st. While the sequester cuts have dealt a devastating 5.1% cut to NIH funding for the remainder of this year, the House plan could mean more than a 10% cut to the NIH budget in FY 2014. The graph on the right shows the deep cuts to NIH for FY 2013 after the sequester, and the cuts that will take place for FY 2014 if Rep. Ryan’s budget is adopted.
President Obama signs the Budget Control Act of 2011
With a sequester of the federal budget now a reality, some are asking: “How did we get here?” Neither the White House nor Congress are accepting attribution for the idea.
Budget sequestration stems back to the US debt-ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011. At the time, there was a fierce debate over the ability of the federal government to borrow additional money to pay its bills. The term “debt ceiling” refers to the government’s legal borrowing limit. At the time, the debt limit of 14.29 trillion dollars had been reached. The government faced an August 3rd, 2011 default on its obligations, if it not allowed to borrow additional capital. With just days to spare, Democrats and Republicans reached a deal known as the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The legislation raised the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts to reduce the deficit. The BCA put in place spending cuts for a period of ten years (2012-2021), for a total of 2.4 trillion dollars; 1.5 trillion dollars of the total was to come from discretionary spending, half of which was of the non-defense discretionary (NDD) category. As a result, NDD spending was set on a course to fall to its lowest level on record, as a share of GDP, with data going back to 1962. Continue reading
A few talking points on NIH are offered, should you wish to engage legislators on the need to preserve investments in biomedical research…
NIH Importance: NIH is the global leader of biomedical research, earning the envy of the world and playing an indispensable role in the growth of the U.S. economy. Every dollar in research funding is estimated to result in more than two dollars of business activity and economic output. In the last year alone, NIH research resulted in more than 57.8 billion dollars in economic output. NIH supports hundreds of thousands of jobs; in 2012 alone, NIH supported more than 402,000 jobs, 85% of which were at more than 2,500 universities and institutions throughout the country. Continue reading
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has issued a call for individuals to serve on its Advisory Panels. There are four panels including: the Advisory Panel on Addressing Disparities; Advisory Panel on Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options; Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems; and Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement. Members of the AADR community are encouraged to apply to these positions. Each of these groups are comprised of patients, caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and other health care stakeholders, and are charged with assisting PCORI with identify research priorities as well as refining the Institute’s research project agenda. Continue reading
Rep. Paul Ryan discuses budget sequestration prospects
Yesterday, January 29th, advocates for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs within the federal budget gathered for a town hall meeting to discuss strategy for further engaging Congress on the impending across-the-board spending reductions.
As mentioned on this site and many others, in just a few weeks budget sequestration will severely reduce NDD and defense spending. The NDD stakeholders group represents hundreds of impacted issue areas from law enforcement to education to medical research. Continue reading
The Senate Budget Committee is soliciting input on the budget through their website at MyBudget. The webpage provides the public with the opportunity to share their stories in relation to the nation’s economy and budget. Visitors to the site can also tell the Committee what their budget priorities are, as the FY2014 budget will be released by the Committee in April. Finally, individuals can tell the Committee about responsible measures to balance the federal budget, which requires the careful determination of numbers for spending by the federal government. This new page was added on Monday and it provides an easy way for the public to let politicians know of their concerns.
On January 23rd, the House of Representatives passed legislation to suspend the debt ceiling until May 18th, meaning that the Treasury Department will be able to fulfill its spending obligations until then. The Senate and White House have indicated that they will go along with the House bill on the debt limit -despite reservations over the short length of the suspension. However, a budget for this year and a longer-term spending plan to avoid the approaching across-the-board cuts appears to be in even greater jeopardy, as the House majority has identified this as the battle they wish to have. Government programs, including those supporting research at NIH and NSF, are vulnerable to cuts of 5.1% of their budgets for this year and deeper cuts in the out-years. These cuts will begin in less than two month, on March 1st. The most immediate cuts will apply to the remaining budget of Fiscal Year 2013, which ends on September 30th. As a consequence, if an alternative is not developed, federal agencies will have a short and immediate window to achieve the prescribed FY13 cuts.
**2/1/13 Update** Debt Ceiling Suspension Approved by Senate, and Sent to President Obama
White House Statement on Short-Term Debt Limit Suspension
OMB Guidance to Agencies on Sequester