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Budget and Appropriations Update

The Administration released its FY 2015 Budget Request on March 4.  The request calls for a discretionary spending level of $1.014 trillion, compared to $1.012 trillion in 2014, and is within the two-year budget deal reached last December.  The Appropriations leadership in both the House and Senate (Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Hal Rodgers) intend to abide by the $1.014 Trillion ceiling and will not push to accommodate the $56 billion of additional requests made by the Administration over and above the Budget Act ceiling.  This will help the Committee follow regular order and avoid the delays necessary to debate a new spending ceiling. Additionally, Chair Mikulski and Chairman Rodgers are already having discussions to establish the individual spending ceilings for each of the 12 subcommittees and have agreed to start marking up and reporting all the bills in May.   All of these developments increase the likelihood of a more orderly appropriations process and a return to regular order. 

The budget includes a separate package of new initiatives totaling $56 billion titled the “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative”. This initiative is budget neutral as offsetting cuts are proposed including cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and new revenues by closing tax loopholes. While it is not expected that proposals included in the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative will be passed by the Congress they do represent a statement of Administration policy. This separate legislative proposal allows the Administration to exceed the cap set by the Budget Deal earlier late last year.  $970 million in additional funding is included for NIH and $552 million for NSF in this proposal.

Below is a general update on what is included in the FY 2015 Budget Request. 

The overall Science and Technology budget request is $135.4 billion, an increase of 1.29%.  The real winners include the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (13.8% increase); Department of Interior (10.1% increase); and the Department of Energy (8.4% increase).

National Institutes of Health:
The President’s Request includes $30.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a $200 million increase over FY 2014.  This funding includes increased resources for Alzheimer’s disease research and its contribution to the BRAIN initiative.   The BRAIN Initiative, which was started this year with $40 million, will receive an additional $60 million in FY 2015.  The Common Fund receives a $50 million increase in FY 2015. 

CDC’s Center on HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention:
The Center receives $1.128 billion, a $7 million increase over last year.  The Division of Viral Hepatitis detailed budget is not yet available.

Mental Health: The Budget includes $164 mil¬lion to support the President’s Now is the Time initiative, to expand mental health treatment and prevention services across the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). : The Budget includes $164 mil¬lion to support the President’s Now is the Time initiative, to expand mental health treatment and prevention services across the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Now is the Time initiative includes $55 million for Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) to help States and communities implement plans to keep schools safe and refer students with behavioral health challenges to the services they need, as well as to provide Mental Health First Aid train¬ing in schools and communities to equip adults who work with youth to detect signs of mental illness; $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals to serve students and young adults; $20 million for Healthy Transitions to help support transitioning youth (ages 16-25) and their families in accessing and navigating behav¬ioral health treatment systems; and $5 million to change the attitudes of Americans about behavioral health workforce needs.

The Budget also makes targeted improve¬ments to the Medicaid program to increase ac¬cess to mental health services, particularly for youth. The Budget establishes a new Medicaid demonstration project in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families to en¬courage States to provide evidence-based psy¬chosocial interventions to children and youth in foster care. The goal is to reduce reliance on psy¬chotropic medications, which are disproportion¬ately prescribed to foster children, and improve outcomes for these young people. The Budget works to ensure Medicaid enrollees receive the most appropriate care, by improving access to mental health services in the community for youth in psychiatric residential treatment facili¬ties and providing a pathway for certain individu¬als in eligible mental health facilities to receive home and community-based care services.

National Science Foundation:
The President’s request includes $7.255 billion for the National Science Foundation, 1% above FY 14, to expand the frontiers of knowledge and to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth by building an innovation economy and educating a globally competitive workforce.  This includes $5.8 billion in research funding allowing for 11,000 research grant awards to be made.

Also included in NSF is language that states the Agency will “Increases the impact of the Agency’s investments and operational efficiency by increasing public access to the results of research and reducing the cost of processing research grant proposals.”

Department of Energy:
Overall, the President requests $27.9 billion in discretionary spending, a 2.6 percent increase, for the Energy Department.

Office of Science: The Budget Request includes more than $5.1 billion for the DOE Office of Science.  This funding  maintains  “the President’s commitment to increase funding for key basic research agencies by providing more than $5 billion for the Office of Science to conduct basic research and invest in research infrastructure in areas such as foundational science for clean energy and fundamental physics.”
ARPA-E: the President requests $52 million for ARPA-E, a 32% increase.

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