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Research Takes a Hit in Budget Deal

A deal was recently reached by Democrats and Republicans over the federal budget for fiscal year 2011, which began in October 2010. After a lot of wrangling and a near-shutdown of the federal government, the lawmakers agreed to preserve the maximum Pell Grant, but cut a lot of research and education programs, says The Chronicle of Higher Education's Kelly Field. Overall, the bill would shrink the federal budget by about $40 billion, cutting $260 million from NIH and $53 million from NSF. While the Democrats were able to avert much steeper cuts — the Republicans had originally proposed a $1.4 billion cut to NIH and a $359.5 million cut from NSF — President Obama also said his administration would no longer plan to double NSF's budget in the next 11 years, Field says. "Bigger budget battles may lie ahead. During the next few months, Congress will have to negotiate a spending bill for fiscal year 2012, which starts on October 1, and decide whether to raise the limit on what the government can borrow," she adds.