As Congress winds down its work to head out on the campaign trail, it has not finalized FY13 Appropriations bills, which fund research funding agencies, or addressed the "financial cliff" before the election. Congress has now decided that it will pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running at current budget levels until March 2013. There is mounting concern and uncertainty over how "sequestration" cuts would proceed in January 2013 if they occur. Some analysis shows the dramatic impact sequestration would have on research agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, which could see a loss of some 700 grants.

As of the end of July, all 12 FY13 Appropriations bills have been drafted in the House, and all but the Interior bill have been drafted in the Senate, but most have not passed both houses.

Labor-Health and Human Services-Education: The House bill keeps the NIH budget flat-lined at $30.6 billion, which is $100 million below the Senate proposal. The new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences would be level funded at $575 million; the Senate would provide $639 million to the center. The Health Resources and Service Administration would be cut $453 million below the FY12-enacted level, but the Centers for Disease Control would see an increase to $5.75 billion.

Defense: The House provides more than $518 billion for the Department of Defense, more than $7 billion above the Senate version. The bill allocates $2.1 billion for basic research (6.1%), $4.5 million or 0.2% above the enacted 2012 level. The bill also provides $4.6 billion for applied research (6.2%), which is a cut of $176 million or 3.7%.

Energy-Water: The House includes a $72 million cut for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Somewhat surprisingly, overall research funding has been spared deep cuts so far in the FY13 Appropriations process. But researchers should assume agency budgets will remain flat until after the election when Congress will return for a lame-duck session where it will attempt to pass the Appropriations bills and address sequestration.

To learn more, contact Tim Leshan, VP for government relations, at northeastern.edu/governmentrelations