First look

How research funding fares in the final agreement on fiscal year 2011 funding.

Today we saw the first text of the deal struck between Congress and the President to complete funding of the current fiscal year (FY 2011). This funding package was introduced today as H.R. 1473. Remember it isn’t law until it passes in identical form in the House and Senate, and is signed by the President (before April 15 when the last temporary bill runs out). This could get confusing, since the FY 12 budget is also coming before the House this week, and the White House plans to release a document detailing still more proposed cuts.

Overall, the FY 11 deal includes $37.7 billion in cuts from previous spending levels. Of that amount, $1.1 billion, or 0.2 percent, would come from an across-the-board cut spread evenly across all discretionary programs with the exception of those in the Defense Department. Mandatory spending programs will take a hit of $17.8 billion, including more than $2 billion in transportation project funding.

How does research funding fare? Compared to cuts other programs are taking, research is holding its own.

The bill provides $30.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $260 million or 0.8 percent reduction below the FY10 level, $50 million of which would come from the Buildings and Facilities Account. (This is $1.4 billion more for NIH than the $29.4 billion level in H.R. 1, the original House-passed bill that was rejected by the Senate). This does not include the 0.2 percent across-the-board cut for all non-defense discretionary spending, so it appears that the total reduction for NIH will be about one percent.

Not counting the across-the-board cut, research programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) would be cut by $43 million from Fiscal Year 2010 levels, and are $444 million less than the President’s FY 2011 request. NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate would receive $10 million less than it received in Fiscal Year 2010 and $29 million less than the President requested in his 2011 budget.

The long-term CR, H.R. 1473 (PDF, 798KB), is now available on the House Rules Committee Web site. A summary (PDF, 231KB) is available on the House Appropriations Web site. And a chart (PDF, 347KB) highlighting the cuts made is available on the House Appropriations Committee site as well.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) said in a release highlighting the bill’s details: “Never before has any Congress made dramatic cuts such as those that are in this final legislation. The near $40 billion reduction in non-defense spending is nearly five times larger than any other cut in history, and is the result of this new Republican majority’s commitment to bring about real change in the way Washington spends the people’s money,” Chairman Rogers said.

APA Science Government Relations staff will update this blog as more information is made available, and as the legislation reaches the floors of the House and Senate for a vote.