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Policy Corner: FASEB, Allies Push for NIH Appropriations

Research funding is at stake as the White House and Congress wrangle over the federal budget for FY2015. Jennifer Zeitzer summarizes the process and issues in the following update from FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology), of which ACSM is a member society.

Obama Budget Released; FY 2015 Appropriations Process Underway; Research Champions Seek $32 Billion for NIH

Last week, President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal, requesting an additional $56 billion above the FY 2015 discretionary spending level of $1.014 trillion agreed upon by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) in December. Although Obama offset the additional spending with other cuts and changes in the tax code, both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill quickly threw cold water on the proposal.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) issued a press release expressing his extreme disappointment that the Obama proposal “blatantly disregards the budget limits for fiscal year 2015,” and emphatically stated that the Committee will abide by the spending limit agreed to in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) also released a statement pledging that her Committee would adhere to the spending caps in the Ryan-Murray deal.

Following the release of the President’s FY 2015 budget, the Appropriations Committees immediately proceeded with hearings on the individual agency spending requests. The majority of the hearings on the science agency budgets will take place over the next few weeks, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack scheduled to appear before the House Appropriations Committee on March 14. On March 25, the House Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a “Public Witness” hearing to receive testimony from organizations and individuals on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies funded by that panel. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has requested to testify at that hearing. NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, is also expected to discuss the agency’s budget with the House LHHS Subcommittee later this month.

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