Because I think that the neuroscience community should understand the
pressures being placed on the Federal funding of neuroscience research, I
am posting information as it becomes available concerning the FY96
Appropriation process. The following is summarized from the Dana Alliance,
Washington Highlights (July 14, 1995).
1. The House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee voted for $11.297
billion for NIH FY96, representing a $642 million or 6.2% increase over
FY95. The actual numbers (in thousands) of institutes relevant to
neuroscience are listed below. FY96 request is the amount requested by
the White House. Chairman's Mark refers to the recommendation of the
committee. The percentages all have FY95 budget as the denominator. Note
the consistency of the numbers. Basically, the White house requested a
3.05% increase in each of the institute budgets, at the estimated inflation
level. The Appropriation Committee added 1.45% to all the institutes that
have a primary CNS mission. NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and
Diseases) is included because it has the National Center for Medical
Rehabilitation and Research and also serves as a benchmark. It did not get
as much of an increase as the institutes with a neurological mission. The
increases are modest, for example, adding less than $10 million over
inflation to NINDS. Biomedical inflation is also likely to be higher than
standard inflation, closer to 4% than 3%.
FY95 FY96 Request Chairman's Mark Mark v. FY95
Mark v. Request
NINDS 652,204 672,062 681,534 +28,339 (+4.3%)
NIMH 631,275 652,136 661,328 +30,053 (+4.8%)
NIA 434,580 447,608 453,917 +19,337 (+4.2%)
NEI 300,590 309,818 314,185 +13,595 (+4.5%)
NIAA 190,067 195,847 198,607 + 8,540 (+4.5%)
NICHD 658,823 586,890 595,162 +26,339 (+4.0%)
2. The subcommitee chair John Edward Porter (R - Illinois) observed on
introducing the budget that the guiding principle in formulating the bill
was to ensure that the legislation "goes back to core programs that support
large constituencies". Note that the next morning, newspaper headlines in
Washington carried the headlines "House midnight budget massacre shocks
federal agency managers". Major and sensitive cuts of the budge includes:
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research - $159.5 --> $125.5 million
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: $132.1 -->
Department of Labor was cut $1.1 billion
Department of Health and Human Services was cut $3.3
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program was eliminated.
3. The Basic Research Subcommittee in the House held a one day hearing on
Thursday concerning the National Academy of Sciences Report "Reshaping
Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers" issued on April 28, 1995.
NSF Director Neal Lane and NIH Director Harold Varmus drew heavy attendance
by House Committee members with many questions concerning the length of
graduate training, the training of women and minotirites, employment
opportunities in non-academic centers. Many members indicated their own
personal experiences in the area.
4. The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
initiated a review of "The Health of the Research University System",
hearing testimony from MIT president Charles Vest, former Glaxco-Welcome
CEO Charles Sanders, and UC Irvine professor Francisco Ayala. No action
was taken but the subject is of concern and will be taken up again on
October 23-24 when the Committee meets again.
Thus, there is much activity and concern in Washington and the neuroscience
community should make their voices heard as Congress tries to understand
what is going on regarding scientific funding. To get additional details
about the hearings, you can check following web pages for Congress and the
Office of Technology Assessment. Although much of it is still under
construction, there is a great deal of information if you are persistent in
browsing through all of it.
Wise Young, Ph.D., M.D.
Department of Neurosurgery
NYU Medical Center, 550 First Ave
New York, NY 10016
wisey at pipeline.com