Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (also known as the Super Committee), announced in a statement that the group would fail in its mission to identify $1.2-$1.5 trillion (over the next decade) in deficit reduction. The failure triggers across-the-board cuts in spending, beginning in FY13. However, it is expected that much of the next year will be spent developing legislation to avoid the triggers. The triggers could result in as much as a 9% FY13 decrease to agencies such as the National Institutes of Health.
Despite the fact that Fiscal Year 2012 began more than six weeks ago on October 1st, Congress continues on a slow path to agreement on spending bills for the year. The process has gained some traction of late and it is possible that spending bills will advance to the president in clusters referred to as “mini-buses.” Each mini-bus will contain funding for several agencies not traditionally tied to one another. The first cluster to pass congress will likely be a combination of the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) spending bill, Transport-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill and the Agriculture bill.
This week, House and Senate negotiators came to agreement on a FY12 CJS-THUD-Agriculture mini-bus (spending bill). Of interest to the biomedical research community is a 2.5% increase (over FY11) for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The agreement funds NSF at $7 billion, $173 billion more than FY11, but far short of the President’s request for $7.7 billion for the agency for FY12. Given the magnitude of budget cuts currently being discussed on Capitol Hill, the modest increase for NSF is being welcomed by many in the research community. The mini-bus still needs to be voted on by both chambers of Congress, but it is expected to pass and move on to President Obama’s desk.
Attached to the CJS-THUD-Ag mini-bus is a resolution that would provide continued temporary funding for the agencies yet to receive a FY12 allocation from the appropriations process. The continuing resolution will last until December 16th, allowing Congress additional time to fund the remaining agencies.
The path forward for the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, which funds agencies critical to the AADR community such as NIH/NIDCR and CDC, remains unclear. However, it is expected that Congress will pass permanent FY12 spending provisions for most agencies by Christmas.
On a separate but related track, the Super-Committee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years appears to be deadlocked. The group has exactly one week to put forward a plan or risk automatic across-the-board cuts to federal agencies -likely felt in FY13 and beyond.
The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) Presents “President Obama’s Initiative on University Research Commercialization:How Universities Plan To Respond” Webinar Series
Sponsored by: The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) and the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) representing the venture capitalists (VCs), angel investors and Global 1000 private funders of research commercialization
Series Description: On September 16, 2011, President Obama announced new steps that will help America’s universities and research labs convert ideas into new products, create startups, expand the economy and create high-value 21st century jobs. In coordination with the Administration, 135 university presidents committed to working more closely with industry, investors, and agencies to bolster entrepreneurship, encourage university-industry collaboration, and advance the nation’s social and economic interests. The commitments are aimed at helping achieve the President’s goal of strengthening commercialization of the nearly $148 billion in annual federally-funded research and development.The “President Obama’s Initiative on University Research Commercialization: How Universities Plan To Respond” webinar series will have university leaders highlight specific plans for following through on this commitment and bolstering their commercialization efforts, in direct response to the President’s call to action. Continue reading
**Update 11/1/** The Senate has also released its schedule for the 2012 calendar year.
House Majority Leader Eric Canter has released a legislative calendar for the 2012. House Members will continue their 2011 practice of having at least one work week per month in their home districts. The so called “District Work Periods” provide ideal opportunities for institutions to invite Members of Congress and their staff for a visit. Visits to campus, for example, provide an opportunity for policymakers to see how federal funding impacts their constituents. Even a one hour visit goes well beyond what a briefing paper can convey.