Just a few days after a Senate panel approved shrinking NSF’s budget by $162 million, it signs off on a spending bill that would cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $190 million, down to a total of $30.5 billion. Though not a severe reduction, it is only the second drop in the NIH budget since 1970. (In 2006, the NIH funds suffered a $33.7 million cut from the 2005 budget. Stay tuned for a more in depth look at the history of science funding in the United States and Europe next months' feature “A Quarter Century of Fueling Science.”)
Still, given the financial crunch facing government budgets across the board, it’s a reasonably good outcome, Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Washington, D.C. told , told ScienceInsider. "In the current environment, it could have been worse."
And the spending bill would approve the proposed NIH center dedicated to translational science, the funding for which has been uncertain.
The full committee is scheduled to vote on the bill later today, and the Senate and House of Representatives will eventually work out the details of the omnibus appropriations bill that will dictate the budgets of many government agencies. In the meantime, the 2012 fiscal year will begin with all agencies funded at 1.4 percent below 2011 levels through the middle of November, according to ScienceInsider.