American Society of Hematology

Federal Government Shutdown Looms as Congress Works to Finalize FY 2012 Appropriations Bill

Published on: December 15, 2011

A fiscal year (FY) 2012 spending package, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), remains in a holding pattern, with congressional leaders using the bills as leverage in a battle of how to pay for a payroll tax cut extension. The current stopgap bill expires at midnight Friday, December 16, forcing a federal shutdown without action on the omnibus or another continuing resolution.

Earlier today, House Republican leaders unveiled the details of the FY 2012 omnibus spending package that contains funding for programs in all nine spending bills that remain unfinished. The bill, the product of negotiations between House and Senate leaders, provides NIH with $30.7 billion in funding, which is $299 million above last year’s level and $758 million below the President’s request. This bill assumes NIH will support the same number of scientifically meritorious research project grants as last year.  However, across the board cuts in separate legislation affecting federal disaster aid would total 2.019 percent; when these cuts are applied, the $299 million increase for NIH becomes a loss of about that much, meaning flat funding.

Until Congress passes a final FY 2012 spending bill, funding for the NIH remains in jeopardy. All Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about the need to adequately fund NIH. To contact your Representative and Senators, please use the e-mail template offered online at the ASH Advocacy Center where you can quickly and easily send a message.

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