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Compromises, Cuts for Science in 2011 Budget

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A last-minute federal budget deal that was worked out Friday night just in time to avert a possible government shutdown includes cuts and compromises that will trim funding for science-funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health.

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats struck a deal with Republican leaders in the House of Representatives for fiscal year 2011, which closes at the end of September, cutting around $38 billion in total funds from discretionary spending, including a reduction of $260 million at NIH, or around 0.8 percent from its 2010 budget.

The $30.7 billion total funding for NIH for the year was agreed upon by the president, who wanted NIH funding increased in 2011 to $32.9 billion, and House Republicans who were seeking to drop NIH funding to $29.4 billion.

The budget cut at NIH includes a $210 million reduction to be spread across all of the agency's institutes and centers, and a reduction of $50 million for buildings and facilities, compared to FY 2010.

The agreed-upon continuing resolution (CR) budget for 2011 also includes $300 million for the NIH Global Fund, which was eliminated in the earlier House version.

The CR budget will provide $2.45 billion to the Food and Drug Administration, compared with $2.1 billion sought in the House plan. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, this funding level will allow FDA to continue to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, and it will provide $1 billion to fund the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Under the CR agreement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will receive $5.66 billion, which is a cut of $730 million from the FY 2010 funding level but is $681 million above the level passed by the House in its budget plan.

The CR provides $2.35 billion for the National Institute on Food and Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service, compared to the $2.52 billion it received in 2010 and the $2.19 billion in the House bill. Within NIFA, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which funds a number of genomics grants, is funded at $265 million, compared to $262 million last year and the cut to $228 million asked for by House Republicans.

The Department of Energy's Office of Science in the CR budget will be funded at $4.88 billion, which is $866 million above the House proposal and is $20 million below the funding level for FY 2010.

Barring any unforeseen disagreements, the CR budget for 2011 is expected to be finalized in Congress and signed by the president on Wednesday.

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