Before departing for the month of October in advance of the November elections, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) which will keep federal agencies opened and operating at FY2010 budget levels through December 3rd. The CR accomplishes two important goals: first and foremost, it keeps the federal government operating and researchers researching; secondly, it gives Congress time to go through the legislative wrangling necessary to finalize an established budget for FY2011 once the members return for a “lame duck” session after the election in November.
What does this mean for the biomedical research community? More business as usual, as NIH, NSF, the FDA and all other agencies will be operating with the same budget they’ve spent most of the year with. There is, however, cause for concern. The biomedical research community (ASBMB included) has spent much of the summer of 2010 negotiating with appropriators for a 3% increase in funding at the NIH, raising the funding level to nearly $32 billion for FY2011. This increase was widely accepted by lawmakers, and the community was beginning to feel optimistic in its passage for FY2011. With a CR, and potentially a new Congress after the election, there may no longer be the political willingness to accept increases in discretionary spending. If the debate in Congress in advance of passage of the CR is any indication, 2011 may be a difficult year. Senators successfully defeated two separate amendments to the CR which called for across the board 5% cut to discretionary funding for the length of the CR.
How will the FY11 budget affect you as a researcher? Let us know!