This evening, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2015. This appropriations bill combines all twelve appropriations bills that Congress works on during the year and condenses it into a single omnibus bill. This omnibus makes appropriations for all federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
NSF: $7.3 billion for FY15. This is a $172 million increase over FY14 appropriations. No policy riders were included in this year’s omnibus that would restrict research funding in any field.
NIH: Nearly $30.1 billion for FY15. This is a $150 million increase over FY14 appropriations. This is not higher than biomedical inflation, and thus the agency will see another year of declines in purchasing power. That said, some specific NIH projects will receive a boost. For example, an additional $25 million is directed to the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative. The agency will receive $238 million in emergency funding for Ebola research. This is in addition to its appropriation.
“This $150 million increase is modest but below the level of inflation, which means the NIH will sustain another cut to its purchasing power,” said Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “While the emergency funding will help Ebola researchers, we can’t surge our way out of this problem of chronically underfunding scientific research. The senseless discretionary budget caps established in the Budget Control Act continue to make funding the nation’s research enterprise appropriately an impossibility.”
Due to logistical and rules issues in the U.S. Senate, Congress will not be able to pass the full measure before it goes on recess on Dec. 11. We expect that Congress will pass a short, 2 to 3 day continuing resolution, delay the recess and pass the bill early next week.
For more information on funding for federal science agencies, follow the ASBMB Policy Blotter!