President’s budget released for fiscal year 2013

Highlights include level funding for NIH and a 4.8 percent increase for NSF

The Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget, also known as the President’s Budget, was released on February 13. The budget adheres to the spending caps adopted in the 2011 Budget Control Act, and federal department heads held briefings over the past two weeks to explain the proposed numbers. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is level funded at the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 level of $30.86 billion. While there is widespread relief that the NIH budget was not cut, flat-funding is hardly considered good news. There is some “new” funding in the budget, including $80 million designated for Alzheimer’s research tapped from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (created by the Affordable Care Act). The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research is level-funded at $27 million.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) receives $340 million in the proposed budget, an increase of 4.8 percent over the FY 2012 enacted level. In a tough budget year, NSF’s solid increase reflects the President’s commitment to doubling the three major federal (non-NIH) basic science agencies — NSF, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Every scientific field across NSF would see an increase for core disciplinary research in this budget, including the behavioral and social sciences.

Within the Department of Defense (DoD), the basic research account (known as the 6.1 level) would see a $2 million increase over FY 2012 for a total of $2.1 billion, whereas the applied research accounts (6.2 and 6.3 levels) would see cuts of $260 million and $45 million respectively. The Medical and Prosthetic Research account within the VA would get a very slight (0.3%) increase from $581 million in FY 2012 to $583 million in FY13.

The President’s budget includes about $6.56 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but with a total budget authority of only $4.99 billion — a decrease by more than $660 million from the agency’s budget authority for FY 2012, and 22 percent below FY 2010. The rest of CDC funds would come from the Prevention and Public Health Fund ($903 million) and transfers from HHS ($667.5 million). The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has seen recent attacks on the Hill by legislators who call it a “slush fund,” sees a $4 billion cut over the next 10 years in the President’s Budget. 

The President’s Budget proposes $620 million for the research, development, dissemination and evaluation activities of the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which would restore funding for research and development to the FY 2010 levels. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research would receive $106 million under the president’s plan, including $69.6 million for continuation of grants made in previous years and $26.2 million for new awards in FY 2013. 

Since the release of the President’s Budget, the House and Senate Budget Committees have held hearings with Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients. The House plans to release a budget in March and bring it to the floor before the end of that month.  For more news on the budget, keep an eye on the APA Federal Budget Blog.