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President Issues FY2008 Budget Request; Proposed NIH Funding is Below FY2007 Joint Resolution

Legislative Update
February 5, 2007

Today, the President issued his Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget request, meaning that Congress is now dealing with three sets of numbers regarding appropriations: the FY2007 Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires Feb 15 (funds the National Institutes of Health, NIH, and the National Eye Institute, NEI, at FY2006 level); the proposed FY2007 year-long Joint Resolution (JR) passed by the House on January 31 and being taken up by the Senate this week that adds $620 million to the NIH budget and effectively increases Institute budgets since they no longer contribute directly to a common fund which is now a separate appropriations item; and the Presidentís FY2008 budget proposal.

For FY2008, the President proposes $28.7 billion for the NIH, a $250 million or 0.8 percent increase over the FY2007 Continuing Resolution BUT far short of the Joint Resolutionís proposed $28.9 billion funding level (about $511 million or 1.7 percent below the FY2007 JR). For FY2008, the President proposes $668 million for the NEI, a one million or 0.1 percent increase over the FY2007 funding level of $667 million (in the CR and JR). This is, at the very least, a step in the right direction, as the Presidentís FY2007 budget proposed to reduce Institute budgets by 0.8 percent, but falls far short of the increases authorized in the recently passed NIH Reform Act of 2006. Again, all of this gets further complicated by the "additional" program dollars that Institutes will have due to not having to make a common fund contribution Ė in the case of NEI, $8 million Ė as well as any dollars they compete for within the common fundís profile of trans-Institute research.

NAEVR has already been on the Hill advocating for FY2008 NEI funding at $711 million, a 6.7 percent increase. As recently as January 31, NAEVR repeated this message at its Welcome Reception for the 110th Congress.

Also on February 5, NIH released a report updating the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI). The Bureau of Economic Analysis in the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates an actual 4.5 percent increase in the BRDPI for FY2006, and has updated the FY2005 inflationary factor upwards from 3.8 to 3.9 percent. The Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI) within the Office of the NIH Director prepares estimated projections for future year values of the BRDPI. OPASI projects a 3.7 percent increase for each of FY2007 and FY2008; 3.6 percent for each of FY2009 and FY2010; and 3.5 percent for each of FY2011 and FY20012.