FY11 Budget Deal: Impacts on Science and Statistical Agency Budgets

By Steve Pierson posted 05-18-2011 14:10

The details of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) budget deal  are emerging.  NSF’s budget was cut 1% below FY10 to $6.806 billion. The FY11 NIH budget was also cut by about 1% below FY10 to $30.6 billion. EIA's budget is cut by 14% and the Census Bureau's budget appears to be at least $93 million** below the FY11 request:

   FY11 Final   
  Compared to  
  Compared to  
   FY11 request  
   BEA $93 M
 0  -15
   Census Bureau*  
 $1.174 B**
 -$6.2 B***
   EIA*  $96 M
   NASS*  $157 M -5
   NIH* $30.7 B
 -1.3 B
   NSF $6.806 B  -66 -564
Levels in millions of $ unless otherwise noted. Sources and statistical agency abbreviations provided below. *Levels do NOT include the 0.2 percent across-the-board cut. **This value doesn't include a $50 million rescission  for the Census Working Capital Fund, which is a budget line outside the Census discretionary budget authority. The impact of this rescission is yet to be reported. ***The large drop in the Census Bureau budget relative to the FY10 is largely due to the wrapping up of the 2010 decennial census.

How to interpret the NSF and NIH news depends on your perspective. 1% cuts are certainly better than the 5% cuts that were passed by the House in February (but not approved by the Senate.) Indeed, some news account report science research funding dodging a bullet. (See links below.) On the other hand, NSF was on track through last year to see a 7-8% increase over FY10 and NIH a 2-3% increase. Furthermore, competition for NIH funding was already especially competitive over the last several years.

In a blow to many in the science community, the White House backed away from its commitment to double funding for scientific research in the longer term, according to a White House blog posting.

There's little question about how to interpret the news about three of the statistical agency budgets that we know so far. In addition to the evaporation of the budget increases that seemed likely last year, budget cuts range from 3% for NASS to 14% to EIA. For the impacts of the cut to EIA's budget, see "Immediate Reductions in EIA's Energy Data and Analysis Programs Necessitated by FY 2011 Funding Cut." The Census Bureau budget appears to be 7% below the FY11 request. BEA's budget isn't cut but they also cannot proceed on any of their four initiatives to improve and modernize their products.

The NASS cut of 3%--to an FY11 level of $157 million--has resulted in the suspension of the quarterly Farm Labor survey. Other impacts to NASS programs have yet to be released.

Not all FY11 budgets statistical agencies are available but most are likely to escape with just the 0.2% across-the-board cut. Possible exceptions are NCES, BJS and NCHS, the budgets for whose umbrella organizations are cut in the budget deal. The budget for Institute of Education Sciences, which includes NCES, is cut $49 million below FY10; the salary and expenses budget for the Office of Justice Programs, which includes BJS, is cut $26 million from FY10, and the budget for CDC, which includes NCHS, was cut $735 million (11.5%).

[5/18: The FY11 NCHS budget was reported to Congress by the Department of Health and Human Services as $138.7 million in base funding, the same as in FY10. It also received 30 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, an increase from FY10 of $10.1 million.]

The impacts of these cuts relative to the FY10 budgets are still being evaluated. In the case of the NSF cuts, the following impacts have been circulated:
  • RRA cut (Compared to the FY 10 level): 134 fewer awards, supporting 1,500 fewer researchers, students, teachers, and technical support personnel than supported last year.
Compared to the FY 11 request level: 1,450 fewer awards, supporting 16,700 fewer researchers, students, teachers, and technical support personnel.
  • EHR cut (Compared to the FY 10 level): 16 fewer awards, supporting 300 fewer researchers, students, teachers, and technical support personnel than supported last year.
Compared to the FY 11 request level: 50 fewer awards, supporting 930 fewer researchers, students, teachers, and technical support personnel. 
According to the 4/26 Science Magazine piece "NIH Trims Grants in Wake of Budget Cuts," NIH in FY11 will cut 1% from ongoing grants compared with the 2010 level and expects to make 9050 awards, compared with 9386 in 2010. [5/18: See 5/11 Chronicle of Higher Education piece, "Budget Straits Mean Grant-Success Rate Will Hit All-Time Low, NIH Warns."]

I will update this piece with details as they emerge.

Previously, the White House Blog, "Details of the Bipartisan Budget Deal," had provided a sketch of the deal: 
  • "we will no longer double the funding of key research and development agencies"
  • "We protected funding for critical programs that invest in science programs, our kids’ education, and critical health programs."
  • "you will still see strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science"
  • "We were able to avoid making than $500 million cut in lifesaving biomedical research at National Institutes of Health."
The White House blog had no mention of statistical agencies.

Links to related material/articles:
"If I were [making the decisions], I would increase funding to NIH [National Institutes of Health], but I would increase NSF funding even more," Gingrich said. "If we are going to compete with China and India and solve the problems facing this country, we need to have more science, more technology and very dramatic education reform."
Statistical Agency abbreviations
BEA   Bureau of Economic Analysis
BJS   Bureau of Justice Statistics
BLS   Bureau of Labor Statistics
BTS   Bureau of Transportation Statistics
ERS    Economic Research Service
EIA    Energy Information Administration
NASS National Agricultural Statistics Service
NCES National Center for Education Statistics
NCHS National Center for Health Statistics
ORES Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, SSA
SOI   Statistics of Income Division, IRS
1 comment


10-24-2011 09:54

NASS announced program cuts as a result of its FY11 budget and anticipated FY12 budget in a 10/17/11 press release, "NASS Reduces Agricultural Estimation Programs": http://nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/Notices/10_17_2011.asp.