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Congress Continues Work on FY12 Budget: Senate cuts NSF 2.4% and Census by 8%

[Updates: 9/20:  The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriation subcommittee marked up its bill and provided "$30.5 billion, a decrease of $190 million, to fund biomedical research at the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise the NIH."
10/3: The House Labor-HHS-Ed subcommittee provided a draft of its bill, which is yet to be marked up.
11/15: CJS minibus level for NSF announced
12/16: Megabus of remaining 9 approps bills posted]

Congress returned to work last week and promptly resumed work on its Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) appropriations bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee (or subcommittees) marked up 3 bills last week and and plans to mark up 4 more by week's end. So far, the National Science Foundation and the statistical agencies covered by the bills have mostly received cuts relative to their FY11 levels. The silver lining for many statistical agencies is the cuts are not as deep as the cuts by the House.

The table below shows the status of FY12 appropriations of NSF and NIH. The analogous table for the statistical agencies can be found at FY12 Statistical Agency Budget Developments. (I'll be updating the tables in both blog entries with new developments.)

 FY12 request 
 FY12 House 
 FY12 Senate 
 FY12 Conference
 30.5  30.64*
7.767  6.860  6.7 7.033
Levels in billions of dollars
*Includes an
across-the-board cut of 0.189%. Because the FY11 budget transferred $300 million of NIH funding to the Global HIV/AIDS fund and the FY12 budget doesn't, the FY12 level represents an increase of $240 million over FY11.
While the House has held NSF at its FY11 level, the Senate cut it by $162 (2.4%) from last year.

For statistical agencies, the Senate funded the Census Bureau at 8% below the FY12 budget request. (The FY12 budget request is used as the point of reference because funding for the decennial census is still winding down, making the FY12 budget request a better point of reference.) The Senate level is much better than the nearly 17% cut on the House side but still a significant cut for the Census Bureau. The Senate cut BEA by 2% while the House held it flat.  For ERS and NASS, the Senate last week provided more funding than the House but at levels below the FY11 level. For EIA, the Senate provided the same level as the House, which is better than the FY11 level but still below the FY10 level. For BJS, the Senate cut is 25% and the House cut 22%. See the table at FY12 Statistical Agency Budget Developments for details.

Despite the quick September action, much if not all of the federal government will again start the fiscal year on October 1 with a budget determined by a Continuing Resolution (CR). How the FY12 budget is eventually resolved is anyone's guess  but it's important for the statistical community to be communicating to lawmakers about the importance of .funding for the science research funding and the statistical agencies. 

Congress had the August recess to contemplate the debt ceiling deal that was signed into law in early August. The provides caps discretionary spending levels at $1.043 trillion in FY 2012, which is $24 billion over the House's approved level and below the FY 2011 discretionary spending of $1.049 trillion. Larger cuts to discretionary spending, and therefore statistical agencies and science research agencies, are likely in subsequent years. I refer the reader to the following analyses:
See also:





09-29-2011 10:38

The October, 2011 "NCHS Policy Watch" reported the NCHS Senate mark and current FY12 budget status as follows, "The Committee provides NCHS a base budget of $138.7 million, flat funding when compared to the current fiscal year and about $23 million less than the president’s fiscal 2012 budget request. In addition, the Committee provides NCHS $35 million from the new mandatory Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the Affordable Care Act. With the supplemental funding from this fund, NCHS’s budget would be $174 million in fiscal 2012 under the Senate Appropriations Committee’s funding legislation.
"Within the funding provided, the Committee directs NCHS to preserve the integrity of seminal surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The Committee also directs NCHS to modernize the vital statistics infrastructure.
The House Appropriations Committee cancelled the unveiling of its health spending bill amid conflicts between House conservatives and the Republican leadership regarding the proposed level of spending. It has not rescheduled the committee markup, nor is it expected to.
"On Monday night, the Senate passed a short-term spending bill through October 4 that will keep the government running at current levels past the end of fiscal 2011 on September 30. The House is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday, September 29 to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate also on Monday passed a longer term spending bill that will keep the government running through November 18 at a funding level 1.503 percent less than the current fiscal year. The House will vote on that bill next week.
"Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will work to pass an omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2012—a massive bill to include all spending bills for all functions of the federal government."

09-22-2011 20:05

An email to the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research today stated, the Appropriations Committee yesterday "rejected, 16 to 14, an amendment by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) that would have restored the $190 million cut. All Republicans voted for the amendment and all Democrats opposed it. The offset for the amendment was an across-the-board cut of all other programs in the bill.
The bill provides $20 million for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) at NIH, which activates its authorization. According to a summary released by the committee, 'The bill creates the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as part of a broader restructuring at NIH that also includes the termination of the National Center for Research Resources.'”

09-21-2011 16:35

I think the Statistics community and the research community needs to understand that we have huge federal deficits as far as the eye can see. We should not continually ask "what's in it for us", but look at the larger picture and the damage we are all causing. If everyone realized that their budget was not the single most important expenditure (including those who wish to receive entitlements), we would all be better off. I propose we act as role models and identify where and how much we can and should cut the NSF (or NIH) budget.