President Obama released his fiscal 2014 budget request today. This document lays out his administration’s priorities over the next fiscal year. Should Obama get his wishes, most research funding agencies would see budget increases. The National Institutes of Health, specifically, would receive a $350-450 million increase in Obama’s budget. However, the budgets for each of the 27 institutes/centers at NIH are requested and appropriated independently meaning that some I/Cs will see larger increases than others. Let’s take a closer look at Obama’s request for the I/Cs of the NIH.
The largest increases under Obama’s FY14 budget request in real dollars went to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (+$96 million), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (+$91 million), the National Institute of Aging (+$73 million) and the National Cancer Institute (+$63 million). While the budget report does not explicitly state what these extra funds will be used for, we can make some reasonable assumptions. The increase to the NIAID budget reflects a renewed commitment to HIV/AIDS research by the Obama administration. The addition to the NCATS budget will allow the center to begin its function as a national hub of drug development research. The bump to NIA will fulfill the administration’s commitment to ramping up Alzheimer’s research.
While most agencies would receive a funding increase in Obama’s FY14 budget, some agencies would be downsized. The National Institute for General Medical Sciences (-$25 million), the National Institute for Mental Health (-$12 million) and the National Eye Institute (-$2 million) were the only institutes to lose money relative to previous years. The reasons behind these reductions are not clear.
As we’ve stated before, Obama’s budget, as well as those of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, represent a vision for the direction of the country. None of these budgets are expected to become law, but these documents highlight the significant differences between the Republican and Democratic views on taxation and federal spending. The rest of the FY14 spending battles will take place among the Senate and House appropriations committees. Some subcommittee hearings have already occurred, but no bills have been written yet. Check back to the Policy Blotter to keep up with the FY14 appropriations hearings and bills.