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FASEB Estimates Impact of Sequestration on NIH Funding

Legislative Update
April 16, 2012

On April 16, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) released its estimate of the impact of potential budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, also known as sequestration. The BCA mandates $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over ten years to both defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending (which includes the National Institutes of Health, NIH), beginning in January 2013. For NIH, the cut would be to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriation, on which Congress is currently working. The President’s FY2013 budget proposal would level-fund NIH at $30.7 billion, the same as FY2012.

Although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates cuts to non-defense discretionary spending of 7.8 percent, FASEB has estimated that cuts to the NIH extramural research program could be as high as 11.1 percent, due to spending categories exempt from cuts in other agencies as well as within NIH.

In testimony before hearings of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of the House (held March 20) and Senate (held March 28), NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. described sequestration’s impact on NIH as “devastating,” adding that “2,300 grants that NIH had planned to fund could not be awarded.” He also has noted in previous comments that, since NIH has significant out-year commitments, the greatest impact would be on new grants.

NAEVR has joined with FASEB in calling upon Congress to prevent the automatic, across-the-board cuts from sequestration and ensure that NIH receives the $32 billion in FY2013 recommended by more than 150 bipartisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.