How The Continuing Resolution Affects The NIH Budget– And Your Grant Award

The NIH issued this announcement yesterday:

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including NIH, operates under a Continuing Resolution (CR) (H. J. Resolution 117) that was signed by President Obama as Public Law 112-175 on September 28, 2012.  The CR continues government operations through March 27, 2013 at the FY 2012 level plus 0.6 percent.

“Until FY 2013 appropriations are enacted, NIH will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). This is consistent with our practice during the CRs of FY 2006 – 2012. Upward adjustments to awarded levels will be considered after our FY 2013 appropriations are enacted but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period.  All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2012 remain in effect under the CR, including the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale ($179,700), which was effective with grant awards with an initial Issue Date on or after December 23, 2011 (see NOT-OD-12-034 and NOT-OD-12-035).”

For grant applications that have just been reviewed, look for a delay (possibly lengthy) in funding decision pending the FY13 Appropriation (unless you are lucky enough to have a priority score well within the funding range.) For those in the gray zone (perhaps 7-16%, depending on your funding mechanism and your ESI status), you can expect a lengthy delay in the funding decision. Discuss your specific circumstances with your program officer.

The NIH FY12 Appropriation: What Do We Know So Far?

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.