President Obama released his fiscal 2014 budget request today. Overall, the budget undoes sequestration by raising more than $600 billion in revenue and a combination of spending cuts to Medicare and defense and nondefense discretionary programs. So how did science funding agencies fair?
Under Obama’s budget, the National Institutes of Health would receive $31 billion for FY14. The NIH was appropriated $30.6 billion for FY13 but saw that number reduced by approximately $1.5 billion due to sequestration. Obama’s budget undoes sequestration restoring this money and also gives the NIH a very small increase to its budget, just over one percent relative to FY13 appropriations. The budget also calls for an increased focus in brain research by fulfilling the administration’s promise to devote substantial money to Alzheimer’s disease research as well as the new BRAIN initiative announced last week.
The National Science Foundation is one of the big winners in Obama’s budget. The agency would receive over an eight percent bump up to $7.6 billion. Obama’s budget would strengthen a number of NSF programs aimed at improving the education of undergraduate and graduate students. The Department of Energy Office of Science ($5 billion), the Veterans Administration Medical and Prosthetic Research ($586 million) and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative ($386 million) also would receive increases in their FY14 budgets under Obama’s proposal.
What does today’s budget release mean for the scientific community? The document released by the Obama administration today is a budget request laying out the president’s priorities for the coming fiscal year. Sectors the president wants to grow receive budget increases while those he wants to do away with receive cuts. Obama’s budget requests for research-funding agencies indicate he is highly supportive of scientific research in the U.S. and maintaining global leadership in this realm. However, the document itself does not change the level of funding for research-funding agencies. Congress must approve appropriations for each federal agency. While they will take Obama’s request into account when drafting their appropriations bills, they are not bound to adhere to Obama’s budget document.
Stay tuned for more information about Obama’s budget and how it reveals his priorities for scientific research.