Funding Cuts Pass House and Move to the Senate
In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 19, 2011, the U.S. House voted to pass H.R. 1, a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government for the current fiscal year, but at significantly lower levels. The CR reduces NIH funding by $1.6 billion below FY 2010 levels, an amount that is $14 million below the FY 2008 level. The bill also included a reduction of $827.5 million in cuts to NSF.
Over 580 amendments were offered, and 67 passed in over 60 hours of debate. One amendment — offered by Reps. Markey, Schakowsky, Courtney, Higgins, Holt, and Davis — would have restored funding to NIH by offsetting gas and oil subsidies. H.R. 1 passed the House without this amendment or amendments to defund NIH or NSF grants, and now rests with the Senate.
Science advocates are encouraging Senators to oppose cuts to science funding in H.R. 1. Although Congress and the President must agree on a long-term solution to address the debt and deficit, it should do so in a way that does not impede progress being made to improve the nation’s health and regain our international competitiveness.