January 2010

Science Budgets for 2010

House and Senate Negotiators Agree on 2010 Science Budgets



U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on the 2010 budgets for several large scientific agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. While traditionally passed in separate appropriations bills, the NIH and NSF budgets will become part of a large omnibus bill, combining six appropriations bills into one piece of legislation.

While Congress and the president previously had passed five of the 12 bills that traditionally fund the federal government for 2010, the budgets for the NIH and the NSF and 85 percent of federally funded life science research had yet to be finalized. With the publication of the conference committee’s report, the House and Senate have paved to way for final passage by both houses of Congress.

According the report, the NIH will be funded at $30.72 billion for 2010. Adding an additional $692 million to the NIH budget, this 2.3 percent funding increase from the previous year is a compromise between the 3.14 percent and 1.47 percent proposed by the House and Senate, respectively.

The NSF will receive a larger relative boost. Negotiators have agreed to increase the NSF budget by 6.7 percent to more than $6.9 billion. The bill’s summary also supports the president’s initiative to double the funding for basic research at “key agencies,” such as the NSF, in 10 years.

Perhaps the most dramatic increase was given to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetics Research program. This program’s budget will grow by 13 percent in 2010 to a total of $581 million.

UPDATE: The House and Senate have passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, the large omnibus spending bill that includes budgets for the NIH, NSF and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetics Research program.  The final budgets reflect the agreements reached by House and Senate negotiators in early December.  The House passed the appropriations act on Dec. 10 and the Senate passed the bill on Dec. 13.  The president is expected to sign the legislation before Dec. 18.

Kyle M. Brown (kmbrown@asbmb.org) is an ASBMB science policy fellow.

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