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Congress Passes Bill to Fund Government for Remainder of
Fiscal Year 2011

Legislative Update
April 15, 2011

Late yesterday, Congress finalized Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 funding, passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. The House passed the measure, 260-167, on Thursday afternoon, and the Senate followed by a vote of 81-19 shortly thereafter. The President is expected to sign the bill today, bringing a close to the six month battle in Congress to finalize spending for FY2011.

Under the bill, the National Institutes of Health(NIH) will receive a .8 percent cut in funding in addition to an across-the-board .2 percent cut in all non-defense discretionary spending, as compared to FY2010. This translates into an NIH FY2011 spending level of $30.7 billion, a reduction of $320 million. $210 million will be cut pro-rata from all Institutes, Centers, and the Office of the Director, $50 million will be cut from the intramural buildings and facilities account, and the remainder reflects the 0.2% cut.

Although specific funding amounts are not currently known, NAEVR understands that for the National Eye Institute (NEI), this means a spending level of $700.8 million, as compared to $706.7 M in FY2010.

The bill, technically the eighth CR that Congress has had to pass for the current fiscal year, comes after a weekend in which the government came within hours of shutting down, due to the expiration of the short-term CR that was funding the government through Friday evening. Congress was able to pass another short term CR last Friday that gave Congressional negotiators until this week to finalize the long-term funding bill. Congress has had to pass the series of Continuing Resolutions because it was unable to pass the twelve normal appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year last October 1.

Because Congress passed a Continuing Resolution for the fiscal year, as opposed to a normal appropriation bill, there was no Committee Report accompanying the bill, which goes into detail on how each federal agency should carry out its priorities for the year. Therefore, the bill requires each agency to submit a spending plan within 30 days, detailing its plans for the remaining six months in the fiscal year.

The bill also includes $4 million for the Department of Defense’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision program.