As summer arrived, a bitterly divided Congress continued its work on legislation to fund the federal government in FY 2013 including the research budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and VA medical and prosthetic research.
Senate appropriators have recommended a budget of $30.723 billion for the NIH in FY 2013, an increase of $100 million (0.3%) over the FY 2012 level. The legislation specifies an additional $54.89 million for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, of which $30 million will go to the Cures Acceleration Network.
As of this writing, the House of Representatives has not yet considered next year’s budget for the NIH.
Under the bill the drafted by House appropriators, the NSF would receive $7.332 billion in FY 2013, an increase of $302 million (4.3%) over FY 2012. Appropriators for the Senate came in slightly lower, recommending an allocation of $7.273 billion, $240 million (3.5%) over FY 2012.
Both House and Senate appropriators have recommended $582.7 million for medical and prosthetic research at the VA. This represents a $1.7 million increase (0.3%) over FY 2012.
House appropriators have recommended that NASA be funded at $17.574 billion in FY 2012, which represents a cut of $196 million (-1.1%) below FY 2012. Senate appropriators allocated significantly more, recommending a budget of $19.4 billion, but this includes $1.6 billion for NOAA weather satellites that was not in the House bill.
With the election looming in the fall, it is unlikely that appropriations legislation will be completed and signed into law before the start of the new fiscal year. A series of continuing resolutions will likely fund federal programs until after the elections, and possibly into the New Year. This extended process has occurred so often that it is no longer novel. However, this year many government spending programs face the additional threat of mandatory cuts known as sequestration unless Congress makes steep cuts in the budget or reverses the Budget Control Act agreement reached last summer.