Yesterday, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education advanced a Fiscal Year 2013 spending bill that would provide NIH a 0.33% or $100 million increase over the FY12 level. The Senate figure is also $100 million higher than President Obama’s NIH budget recommendation for FY13. The Senate went along with the President’s proposal to significantly increase the NIH Cures Acceleration Network, though at a more modest increase, quadrupling the current budget of $10 million to $40 million in FY13. At this time, funding levels for individual NIH ICs has not been made available. However, one can expect near level-funding (as compared to FY12) at most agencies. While the increase to NIH is certainly welcomed, particularly given the bleak budget picture on Capitol Hill, even the Senate funding level would continue a multi-year decline in support to NIH when inflation is accounted for.
News from the Senate is also tempered by the fact that funding levels for the House FY13 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill have yet to emerge. The overarching budget framework in the House is lower than in the Senate. Further, if Congress and the President fail to work out a deal to avert across-the-board spending cuts, the House and Senate figures for NIH and most other agencies would be replaced by cuts approaching 9%.