Federal Relations

House Proposes Deep FY11 Cuts, President Looks to FY12

The leadership of the House of Representatives has come forward with a second version of proposed cuts for fiscal year 2011. The new continuing resolution (CR) proposal is in response to criticism from deficit hawks within the Republican caucus who seek to fulfill a 2010 promise to reduce federal spending by $100 billion from what the President has put forward. The proposed CR cuts would be particularly significant, given that they would be spread over the remaining 7 months of FY11 as opposed to over an entire fiscal year. The House proposal cuts nearly all federal research agencies including: NIH, NSF, and DoE Office of Science. Additionally, Pell Grant levels would see a reduction of approximately 15%.

Details on select agencies/programs within House FY11 proposal:

National Institutes of Health- NIH would be cut by $1.63 billion, or 5.3%, below the FY10 level of $31.01 billion.

National Science Foundation-  NSF would be cut by $359.5 million, or 5.2%, below the FY10 level of $6.87 billion.  The proposal appropriates $5.4 billion for Research and Related Activities, which is $150 million, or 2.7%, below the FY 10 level.  For Education and Human Resources, the bill appropriates $725.7 million, which is $147 million, or 16.4%, below the FY 10 funding level.  For Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC), the CR appropriates $54 million, which is $63 million, or 53%, below the FY10 level. The MREFC account funds the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) that UW partners on. OOI represents the largest single federal award to the UW.

Department of Energy-  DOE’s Office of Science would be funded at $4.02 billion, representing a cut of $886 million, or 18%, from the FY10 funding level of $4.90 billion. $50 million is included to sustain the new Advanced Research Projects Agency -Energy.

National Institute of Standards and Technology-  NIST would see a reduction in its overall budget of $159.5 million, or 19%, from its FY 2010 funding level of $856.6 million. The university facilities construction account within NIST is eliminated.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration-  NASA would be cut by $578.7 million, or 3.1%, below the FY10 amount of $18.7 billion.  However, NASA Science would receive $4.4 billion, Aeronautics $501 million, and Education $182 million – all the same as FY10. 

Department of Education-  Funding is not included in the House proposal to fill the Pell Grant shortfall, which means a cut of $845 from the discretionary maximum grant of $4,860 down to $4,015. With the mandatory funding, the maximum grant would total $4,705, compared to the current maximum grant for the academic year 2011-12 of $5,550. The proposal cuts funding for TRIO and GEAR UP by $24.9 million and $19.8 million, respectively, to below their FY08 levels. In addition, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program for undergraduates with exceptional financial need was proposed for elimination, as was the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Program that establishes a federal-state partnership to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to students who have demonstrated financial need.

National Endowment for the Humanities- NEH would be cut by $22 million, from its FY10 level of $167 million to $145 million, a reduction of 13.2%.

A vigorous defense of investments in these programs is taking place in Washington, DC. The Senate and President are expected to challenge the House proposal. Meanwhile, today, President Obama released his FY12 budget request. Although the request makes cuts to federal spending, increases to several research agencies are included within the proposal as well as well as a reorganization of the Pell Grant program that would keep the current maximum award level of $5,550. The President’s budget request largely assumes level funding for FY11, which at this juncture, is probably a best case scenario. Additional details on the FY12 budget request will be provided shortly.