Last Thursday, Congress approved the sixth in a series of continuing resolutions that have been keeping the government funded since October 1 of last year. The most recent bill, which will run through April 8, again holds funding to FY10 levels, while also cutting $6 billion from the budget by eliminating earmarks and certain programs already slated to be eliminated. As with previous CRs, virtually no cuts were made to the budgets of science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, a point that was emphasized to ASBMB staff and Public Affairs Advisory Committee members during visits to Capitol Hill offices last week.
Both Democrats and Republicans seem to be tiring of the drawn-out budget battle, while remaining leery of shutting down the government. House Appropriations Committee chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., described the FY11 budget as “long, long overdue,” but insisted that “a government shutdown is not an option – period.” Meanwhile, his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also framed a government shutdown as “unacceptable,” while concurrently pointing out that the proposed budget cuts “will be challenging for our agencies to manage.”
In addition to our own trip to Capitol Hill, ASBMB staff and members will over the next few weeks be participating in Hill Days with both the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Coalition for Life Sciences, to continue the push for research funding.