The President released his budget proposal for FY2010 to Congress this week, as you've no doubt heard in the news.
Here's what I've been able to make of it, as far as it relates to MD research - if anybody else is following it and has a different take, or more info, I'd love to hear from you.
Looks like he's asking for discretionary funding at the Department of Health and Human Services at $76.8 billion for FY2010. This actually represents a decrease from 2009. But, that doesn't include money from the economic stimulus package, which the budget says is $22.4 billion. Out of that $22 billion, NIH got more than $10 billion, and that was a huge win.
Looking out at the next 5 years, the budget shows an increase of about 13% for HHS (less than 3% per year). Some departments show very large increases over the 5 years, notably the State Department (and other international programs) which would increase 89%, or the Department of Education, which would increase 56%. These numbers are all for discretionary spending authority.
The budget outline released on Thursday doesn't get into many specifics, so we don't know what this means for the amounts for NIH or CDC yet. Apparently there will be a more detailed budget proposal submitted in April, and this whole thing is going to be subject to debate the likes of which we haven't seen in quite some time, I'd say.
The President did make specific proposals regarding cancer research. His proposal included $6 billion for cancer in FY2010, on the way to a doubling of cancer research over 5 years. For comparison purposes, NIH spending on all forms of muscular dystrophy totalled $56 million under the new NIH accounting method in FY2008 ($22 million on D/BMD). Cancer was at $5.5 billion.
I think our message remains the same. Appropriate more money to NIH. I personally was hoping that this President would put forward larger increases to HHS. But, I think the comittment he made to more funding for NIH for cancer (and the increases for NSF and DOE, for that matter) indicates he's pro-research. Let's hope his detailed budget calls out an increase for NIH research for all diseases, not just cancer, and that the Congressional budget and appropriations committees are of the same mindset.
On another note, the FY2009 appropriations bill (HR.1105) cleared the House last Wednesday, and at least one source I read said it included a 3% increase for NIH. The bill includes $31 billion more total spending than the previous year. I would not be surprised at all if the Senate Republicans took some kind of stand over the bill, it has a lot of earmarks. I saw zero coverage of the bill in the mainstream media, and the House only debated it for one hour. Among other things, it includes $40 million just to complete the Capital Hill visitor's center. That single item alone is nearly as much as the government spent on DMD research over the last two years.