US Funding for FY 2015 Now Complete, On to FY 2016
Monday, December 15, 2014
FABBS Member Societies:
As I mentioned at our Council meeting, appropriations staff had worked over the prior weekend to finalize a spending package for FY 2015, the federal fiscal year which runs from Oct. 2014 through Sept. 2015. The government was operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that expired on Thursday night. On Thursday, the House passed a large spending bill, called a "cromnibus" since it combined numerous spending bills as well as a short-term CR to fund the Dept. of Homeland Security until the end of Feb. 2015. The House also passed a very short-term CR to fund the entire government until the Senate could pass the new spending package. The Senate completed its work on Saturday night.
FY 2015 Complete
Given the ceiling on spending for FY 2015 that was set in the Bipartisan Budget Act (also known as the Ryan-Murray budget agreement), the science agencies that fund most of our work did fine. Perhaps more importantly, there were no amendments to target social and behavioral sciences late in the process, nor any report language that had a detrimental effect.
Follow are a few highlights from the crominbus:
NSF: $7.34 billion, an increase of $172.3 million over FY 2014. Within this amount, the research account (which funds all directorates except the Education and Human Resources Directorate) received $5,933.6 million, an increase of $124.7 million. EHR received a boost as well, moving from $846.5 million in FY 2014 to $866 million.
NIH: $30.1 billion, an increase of $150 million over FY 2014. Most Institutes and Centers (IC's) were flat funded, but a couple received a small boost. NCI was increased by 0.55%; NHLBI increased by 0.31%; NICHD and NIDA both increased by 0.31%. NIMH received a boost of 1.16% and NIA climbed 2.43%.
The accompanying report language notes that the committee is not increasing funding for specific diseases, but noted, for example, the burden of Alzheimer's in increasing support for NIA. The report also provided increased support for several IC's to support the BRAIN Initiative. Finally,t he bill included funds to support the National Children's Study, but on Friday, NIH announced that it would no longer fund the study, which has already cost $1.2 billion. Instead, NIH plans to redirect some of the $165 million to fund related research (for more details, see: http://bit.ly/16oitxF)
IES: The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) received $573.94 million, a decrease of $3 million. Within this overall amount, NCER, NCSER, and NCES as well as R&D and the Regional Education Labs (REL's) were flat-funded. NAEP was cut by $3 million.
Also of note, the report language accompanying the defense bill states that there is an increase of $125 million above the President's request for Traumatic Brain Injury research and psychological health research, as well as a $4 million increase for substance abuse research.
Although Congress will debate (very visibly) funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security for the remained of FY 2015, most of the attention will now turn to FY 2016. The President will roll out his budget request in February, and Appropriators will begin hearings on the request in March and April. If all goes well, Appropriators will begin marking up the spending bills soon after.
Of special interest to the science community and our societies, sequestration cuts kick in again in FY 2016. (As I mentioned at the Council meeting, we have had a two-year, partial relief from these cuts.) We will be working hard to roll back sequestration in FY 2016 and beyond. Just last week, you received an email from FABBS inviting your society to sign onto a letter calling for this rollback.
Happy Holidays! You can exhale now -- at least for a few weeks!
Paula Skedsvold, JD PhD
FABBS Government Relations Consultant