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Web Date: December 20, 2011

Congress Finalizes 2012 Budget

Federal Funding: House and Senate clear spending package that includes nine outstanding appropriations bills
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Omnibus, fiscal 2012 federal budget, appropriations

Congress passed an omnibus spending package that will complete the remaining appropriations for fiscal 2012, which started on Oct. 1. The move by the House of Representatives on Dec. 16 and the Senate on Dec. 17 averted a looming partial government shutdown and clears the way for President Barack Obama to sign the measure.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (the conference report of H.R. 2055) rolls nine appropriations bills together. This omnibus bill includes funding for R&D at agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Energy and Defense. Other key science agencies, namely the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, and the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, received their appropriations in a smaller spending package that cleared last month (C&EN, Dec. 12, page 22).

“After weeks of tough negotiations with our Senate counterparts—and several tenuous days this past week—we were able to complete a bipartisan, bicameral compromise that rolls back federal budgets, makes smart investments in programs people rely on, and implements policy changes that will bolster American business and our economy,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold (Hal) D. Rogers (R-Ky.) said in a statement. “As with any compromise, this bill isn’t perfect, but it represents the kind of responsible governing that will help move our country forward.”

The omnibus package provides DOD with a budget of $72.4 billion, which is 3.3% below 2011 funding, for research, development, testing, and evaluation. At DOE, a program for R&D on renewable sources of energy will hold steady at $1.8 billion, while funding for nuclear and fossil-fuel R&D will increase by various amounts. Funding for DOE scientific research will grow by $46 million to $4.9 billion.

The NIH budget will grow by 1.0% to $30.7 billion under the omnibus measure with the assumption that the agency will support the same number of research grants as it did in 2011. EPA will get $8.4 billion, a 2.9% cut from its 2011 budget. The omnibus bill calls for cuts in clean air and climate research programs, EPA’s regulatory development office, and air regulatory programs.

 
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