NIH and NCI vulnerable to further cuts before year’s end
By Mary Lee Watts, M.P.H., R.D.
Director, AACR Government Relations
Cancer research funding will remain at fiscal year 2010 levels through March 4, at which point it could be vulnerable to further cuts.
Just before winding down for the winter holiday recess, Congress adopted a third continuing resolution, a stopgap measure that will keep most government agencies and programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), running at FY2010 levels for two months. The task of addressing spending levels for the remainder of FY2011 will fall to the new 112th Congress, which will also be attempting to set funding priorities for FY2012 this year.
The short-term resolution is vulnerable to drastic cuts by Republicans, who, with a new majority in the House and increased numbers in the Senate, have pledged to slash funding levels to those in effect in FY2008. If such rescissions are enacted, the result could be a cut of as much as $1.7 billion to NIH, a move that the agency’s director, Francis Collins, has said would be devastating to the agency and demoralizing to scientists. Republican leaders have said they plan to cut $100 billion from the federal budget, nearly all of which would come from non-defense, domestic discretionary spending. It remains unclear whether NIH would be among those domestic agencies subject to additional cuts.
The outlook for cancer research in FY2012 is no more positive. President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposal, expected the week of Feb. 14, is expected to reflect a pledge he made last year to freeze federal spending levels for three years in light of growing deficits.
Read more from the January Edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: