On Friday, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released the most recent version of the FY11 funding bill that has been worked on for the past twelve months. The continuing resolution, which would fund the government through the end of FY11, restricts discretionary spending to $1.028 trillion, a $60 billion decrease from FY10 enacted levels and nearly $100 billion less than President Obama’s initial request, making cuts to almost every government agency. Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., defended the cuts as crucial for “returning our nation to a sustainable financial path.”
After seeming to have escaped the chopping block following last Wednesday’s release of the initial list of budgets to be cut, science agencies instead received the same fate as other government agencies. Relative to FY10, the National Institutes of Health would have its budget reduced to approximately $29.4 billion, a $1.6 billion decrease, while the National Science Foundation would lose nearly $360 million.
The bill is expected to be voted upon this week by the House. Assuming it is approved, it will be taken up by the Senate, where Democrats have already signaled their opposition. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, criticized House Republicans for “attempt[ing] to balance the budget on the back of domestic discretionary investments,” pointing out that non-defense discretionary spending represents a mere 15% of the federal budget.
ASBMB Public Affairs staff will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.