With passage of the recent bipartisan budget agreement, members of the appropriations committees now get to work crafting bills that will fund federal agencies for the rest of fiscal 2014. However, the deadline to pass these bills is Jan. 15, which will leave legislators the task of deciding on and agreeing to spending levels for nearly all federal agencies and only three weeks to do it.
What can we expect for science funding? For the National Science Foundation, we have some idea about the level of funding for the rest of the FY14. The U.S. Senate and House proposed $7.4 billion and $7 billion, respectively, for the NSF. The final funding number for the Foundation will probably fall somewhere in between. Given the FY13 budget of $6.8 billion, FY14 funding will almost certainly represent a significant increase.
The FY14 budget of the National Institutes of Health, on the other hand, is a much murkier story. The Senate passed an appropriations bill that would fund the NIH at $30.9 billion for FY14. This level would undo the cuts from sequestration, but would not increase funding beyond that. However, the House appropriations committee that sets NIH funding never released a bill. Thus, it’s not possible to know how far apart the House and Senate are on NIH funding in order to venture a reasonable guess about the outcome of the appropriations process. Due to the increase in overall federal spending for FY14, we expect NIH funding to increase; however, it is not clear what the final number for the agency will be.
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