President Releases FY 2014 Budget Plan

On April 10, President Obama released his FY 2014 budget plan with ambitious increases for most biomedical research funding agencies. In place of another round of sequestration, the President proposes to meet the agreed-upon level of federal spending through a mix of new tax revenues, reductions in entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare, and targeted spending cuts. The proposal would provide a 1.3% increase in overall federal research and development spending and would increase funding for biomedical research at the NIH and NSF.

NIH

Under the Obama proposal, the NIH would receive $31.3 billion in FY 2014. This represents an increase of 6.8% compared to the FY 2013 budget, which was $29.3 billion after sequestration. Highlighted in the budget proposal are several initiatives, including a project called Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN); an effort to improve research using large data sets that is called Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K); and continued efforts to enhance the diversity of the scientific workforce.

Although the President’s budget proposal would provide a substantial increase over current funding, it still falls short of FASEB’s recommendation. FASEB said NIH should be given no less than $32.0 billion in FY 2014 “to prevent further loss of capacity, protect its prior investment, and ensure a sustainable research program,”

NSF

President Obama proposed $7.6 billion for NSF in FY 2014. This represents 10.8% increase over the FY 2013 level, which was $6.88 billion after sequestration. The largest program increases within the NSF budget were requested for Research and Related Activities and Education and Human Resources. The increase for Education and Human Resources is part of the President’s plan to consolidate science education programs by giving the NSF increased funding to expand its efforts in this area.

The proposed NSF budget exceeds the FASEB’s FY 2014 recommendation of $7.4 billion.

NASA

The President recommends a budget of $17.7 billion for NASA in FY 2014. This is $50 million or 0.3% below NASA’s FY 2012 funding level. (The comparable FY 2013 funding level is not currently available.) The budget proposal would continue to invest in development of the new Space Launch System and the Orion crew vehicle, and begin work on a new long-term initiative to explore and manipulate asteroids.

VA Medical and Prosthetic Research

The FY 2014 proposal for VA Medical and Prosthetic research is $586 million, an increase of $3.2 million or 0.6% above the FY 2013 level. This is below the FASEB recommendation of at least $621 million for the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research Program in FY 2014.

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