U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on the 2010 budgets for several large scientific agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. While traditionally passed in separate appropriations bills, the NIH and NSF budgets will become part of a large omnibus bill, combining six appropriations bills into one large piece of legislation.
While Congress and the president previously had passed five of the 12 bills that traditionally fund the federal government for 2010, the budgets for the NIH and the NSF and more than 85 percent of federally funded life science research had yet to be finalized. With the publication of the conference committee’s report, the House and Senate have paved to way for final passage by both houses of Congress.
According the report, the NIH will be funded at $30.72 billion for 2010. Adding an additional $692 million to the NIH budget, this 2.3 percent funding increase from the previous year is a compromise between the 3.14 percent and 1.47 percent proposed by the House and Senate, respectively.
The NSF will receive a larger relative boost. Negotiators have agreed to increase the NSF budget by 6.7 percent to a total of more than $6.9 billion. The bill’s summary also supports the president’s initiative to double the funding for basic research at “key agencies,” such as the NSF, in 10 years.
Perhaps the most dramatic increase was given to the U.S. department of veteran’s affairs Medical and Prosthetics Research program. This program’s budget will grow by 13 percent in 2010 to a total of $581 million.
While the federal fiscal year ended in September, Congress previously passed a continuing resolution, funding the federal government at 2009 levels until Dec. 18. This final agreement makes it more likely that Congress and the president will pass and sign the appropriations packages for 2010 into law by the end of the year.
You can read more about the final 2010 omnibus appropriations agreement on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations web site.