Now that we finally know (more or less) what the budget situation will be for the remainder of FY11, we must turn our attention to the odious task of following the FY12 appropriation saga as it unfolds. Where do we stand so far on the FY12 Appropriation Bill?
NIH has requested $31.987B for FY12. Last February, the Administration endorsed that request, recommending $31.829B for the agency. (For those keeping score at home, the Administration’s FY12 request for NSF was $7.424B and for DOE’s Office of Science they recommended $5.4B.) The Administration’s NIH request is 3.4% over the FY10 enacted level, though when adjusted for inflation that amount represents approximately level funding.
Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives released their version of the FY12 budget, which bears not even a fleeting resemblance to the one proposed by the Administration. Their budget includes drastic cuts across the board, including to the Department of Defense, as Republicans begin to craft their message of financial restraint for the 2012 Presidential election. Their goal is to cut discretionary spending to pre-2008 levels and freeze it there for five years, as they seek to tackle the alarming federal budget deficit (there are 12 zeros in $15 trillion, in case you were wondering). The Democratic Senate and the Administration are almost certain to reject the austere proposal, thus setting the stage for another budget drama in which the two chambers of Congress cannot come to agreement on the FY12 Appropriations bill. For an excellent overview of the House FY12 budget proposal, click here.