The House on September 13 approved a six-month continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running through March 27, 2013. The CR provides funding for most government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at fiscal year (FY) 2012-enacted levels plus a temporary 0.6 percent across the board increase. The Senate is expected to also pass the CR prior to adjourning for the November elections.
However, the CR does not alter the sequester (additional across-the-board cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011), meaning that without congressional action before the end of the calendar year, discretionary programs such as NIH will face significant cuts on January 2, 2013. Consequently, at best, NIH will be funded at slightly above the FY 2012 level; at worse, NIH could receive cuts to its baseline budget and then be cut 8.2 percent as part of the sequester. This means that as many as 2,300 NIH grants could be eliminated.
Funding for NIH remains in serious jeopardy. Congress may take up the issue of the sequester after the November elections during the "lame duck" session. It is critical that all Representatives and Senators hear from researchers about the impact that inadequate funding has on medical research and the need for them to take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit that doesn't further cut NIH and other core federal programs. Please visit the ASH Advocacy Center to participate in ASH's on-line advocacy campaign to contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to avert the sequester and protect NIH funding.
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