FY 2011 Science Funding Levels in Question

In one week, the 2010 elections will be completed, and it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen with federal spending bills during the lame-duck session.

The federal government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution that is set to expire on December 3, 2010. Although work on individual appropriations bills is underway, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to whether an omnibus bill, which would include all regular appropriations bills, will pass this year.

Against the backdrop of a Congressional Budget Office estimate of a $1.291 trillion deficit for FY 2010 (a $125 billion “improvement” from 2009, according to Congressional Quarterly), House Republican leaders are calling for cuts to discretionary, non-defense spending to 2008 levels. In this climate, even modest 3% increases (amount proposed for NIH for FY 2011) in funding for scientific research are questionable.

With ARRA funds no longer available, science funding advocates are making the case to leadership in both parties that significant cuts will slow research progress and the nation’s ability to “maintain [its] leadership in the global innovation economy.”