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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR APRIL 18, 2013:

President Obama's FY 2014 Budget Request


On April 10, 2013 the President formally submitted his FY 2014 Budget Request to congress.  The budget will cancel sequestration and replace it with an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through new revenue, $400 billion in "health savings," other mandatory savings, and $200 billion in discretionary cuts split evenly between defense and nondefense programs.


Below are highlights included in the President’s Budget Request.

Health and Human Services:
Secretary Sibelius introduced all the Agency heads and gave brief introductory comments, highlighting the following:
 

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act ($1.5 billion is requested for this purpose in FY 2014);


The increased funding for  Mental Health Care services largely in response to gun violence;


Increased funding for Early learning services as follow up to the President’s  comments in his Inaugural address regarding universal pre-school;

 
Several NIH initiatives including the Brain initiative (+$40 million)announce earlier and an Alzheimer’s (+$ 80 million) research initiative; and


The Department’s commitment and contribution to reducing the deficit, with funding reductions, increased spending for fraud and abuse and  allowing the growth of Medicare (only +0.4% in 2012)

The Secretary then fielded a few questions before she left and Ellen Murray, Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, responded to additional questions. Of the 12-15 questions asked probably a third were about implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  As Congress has blocked all funding for ACA implementation the obvious question is how this has been financed.   The answer includes: 1) continuing to use the original $1 billion appropriated for his purpose; 2) using the mandatory spending Prevention Fund created by the ACA; 3) an authority created in 2008 that permits unobligated year end funds to be used of IT expenditures; and 4) various agency administrative funds. The Secretary noted that the AFC Act implementation is an “ongoing conversation” but it is the law of the land and has been supported by the Supreme Court.

Below are some specific items of interest:

National Institutes of Health
Overall, the funding request is $31.3 billion; a $471 million increase (1.5%) over the FY 2012 enacted level.  NIH estimates this will support 36,610 research grants (+351 over last year), including 10,269 new and competing awards.  Research priorities included Investing in Today’s Basic Research for Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs (including $40 million on the President’s new BRAIN initiative). About 54% of the total NIH budget will go to investigator initiated research.  Specific Institute levels include: NCI: $5.125 billion (+28 million over FY 13 CR levels); NIAID: $4.578 billion (+$65.9 million over FY 13 CR levels); NCATS: $665.7 million ($87.48 million over FY 13 levels).  The full funding table can be found at (http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The president’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request for CDC is $6.6 billion, a decrease of $270 million from FY 2012. This funding level includes $755 million from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) and $618 million in Public Health Service (PHS) evaluation funds. The Division of Viral Hepatitis, however, received $31.4 million, an increase of $10.1 million over FY 2012 enacted levels. 

Department of Energy
The budget provides $28.4 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Energy, an eight percent increase above the FY 2012 enacted level. This increased funding will position the United States to compete as a world leader in clean energy and advanced manufacturing, enhance our energy security, respond to the threat of climate change, and modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile and infrastructure.  It also maintains the President’s commitment to increase funding for key basic research agencies by providing over $5 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over the FY 2012 enacted level, for the Office of Science for basic research and research infrastructure to lay the foundation for innovation, long-term economic growth, and competitiveness in areas such as foundational science for clean energy and fundamental physics.

Advanced Manufacturing Initiative
The budget proposal enhances the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers by providing $1 billion in mandatory funding to create a network of up to 15 manufacturing institutes across the Nation and creates a $113 million Investing in Manufacturing Communities Fund to provide targeted financial assistance for about five manufacturing communities that have developed comprehensive strategies to strengthen their manufacturing potential.  The biggest part of this initiative is funded through NIST. 

NASA
The budget proposal provides $17.7 billion in discretionary funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a decrease of 0.3 percent, or about $50 million, below the FY 2012 enacted level. While making tough choices, the Budget reinforces the agency’s current balanced portfolio of aeronautics and space technology development, Earth and space science, the development of rockets and capsules to carry explorers deeper into space, and the use of innovative commercial partnerships for crew and cargo transport to the International Space Station.

National Science Foundation
An increase of $593 million or 8.4%.

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