Viget provides this analysis in comments.
This is worse than I thought... (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by: michelle ...I read the amendment and the Congressional record on the debate.
Basically, Sen. Gregg's committee has shut out any NIH increses. They begrudgingly added $1 billion to what the preznit requested (which was to freeze FY2007 funding at the FY2006 (and 2005, I might add) level of $28.35B), but even with that extra $1 billion (bringing the total to $29.35 billion), it's still below FY2005 ($28.35B) levels adjusted for inflation. The extra money freed up by this amendment will allow Specter's subcommittee to tack on another $1B to the NIH appropriation, thereby raising it to $30.35B, which is marginally less than FY 2005 levels adjusted for inflation.
The reason this is so bad, is that the only way Specter and Harkin can get the increases for the NIH (and to prevent massive cuts in or elimination of other vital programs in the depts. of HHS, Labor and Education, including community block grants), is to basically raise the Advance spending limit for FY2007 $7B to $30B. That extra $7B (which technically would belong to NEXT year's budget) would then be used to restore the cuts in this year's budget to Specter's subcommittee's programs.
So, basically what we're saying here is that we now have to borrow from next year just to keep the NIH competitive with inflation. Meaning next year, when this fight breaks out again, they're already $7B in the hole, where will they come up with the needed extra $5-10B or so to keep place with inflation?
This is bad news.
Also, realize that this is just a vote on the SENATE version of the Budget resolution, and the HOUSE has to pass this too. And this amendment can basically be taken out in conference committee too.
Finally, even if by some miracle the amendment passes, the House goes along with it, the conference committe doesn't change it, the money isn't yet appropriated. Then, Sen. Specter's subcommittee will have to try to make sure the appropriate levels are requested in the appropriations bill (which, under the Constitution has to originate in the House), and that the conference committee for THAT bill doesn't mess with it.
In short, even if this passes today, I think it's still pretty bleak for the NIH.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
by viget on Thu Mar 16, 2006 at 12:53:54 PM PDT
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