President Obama has released the details of his fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget proposal. While noting that "biomedical research contributes to improving the health of the American people, as well as the economy" and that "tomorrow's advances in health care depend on today's investments in basic research," the President's proposed budget provides $31 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a slight increase over the pre-sequestration amount provided for NIH in the final FY 2013 budget passed by Congress in March.
However, the budget's primary impact revolves around renewed discussions over a long-term fiscal plan. Importantly, the President's proposed budget seeks to cancel sequestration and replace it with an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through new revenue, $400 billion in savings, and $200 billion in discretionary cuts (taking effect in FY 2017) split evenly between defense and nondefense programs. Sequestration, which took effect March 1, will cut approximately $1.5 billion from NIH during the remainder of FY 2013.
It is important to remember that the President's nonbinding proposal merely sets forth the Administration's priorities and is just one step in a lengthy federal budget process. Announced two months later than expected, and after the House and Senate have each already passed divergent FY 2014 spending blueprints, the President's budget proposal will begin a new round of congressional negotiations on the annual spending bills. In the coming weeks, Obama Administration representatives will be called to testify before Congress on the President's proposals and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin drafting legislation establishing actual federal spending levels.
As the FY 2014 budget process continues, lawmakers need to understand that this is not the time to defund science; this is the time to invest in medical research. However, they will only understand if they hear from you, their constituents. Visit the ASH Advocacy Center today to send a message to your elected representatives about the impact that funding cuts will have on the research you do and the patients you treat.
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