While Congress avoided the U.S. defaulting on its loans and an international financial disaster by reaching a deal to suspend the country’s the debt limit, the deal included budget caps that will dramatically affect federal spending for the next two years.
This agreement on budget caps now extends to congressional decisions on the annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government as Congress must agree on funding levels within those caps. For fiscal year (FY) 2024, which begins in October, appropriators in the House and Senate are taking very different approaches to spending under the caps. Fiscal conservatives are arguing for deep cuts below the caps while other policymakers are fighting for increases to social programs causing political gridlock.
In the House of Representatives, the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Kay Granger (R-TX) has stated that she and others in the majority view the caps as a “ceiling, not a floor.” Consistent with this view, the House Appropriations Committee recently released top-line funding levels for each of the 12 appropriations bills with significant cuts relative to FY 2023 levels. For the bill that funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other important public health agencies, the bill contains a cut of over $60 billion, or nearly 30%. The Senate, on the other hand, is preparing spending bills with levels that more closely track the recent debt ceiling deal.
The difference between the House and Senate is considerable and likely foreshadows more debate and difficult decisions about funding priorities throughout the summer and into the fall. It is critical that all researchers funded by the NIH join our online advocacy campaign to urge their representatives and senators to protect NIH funding. Visit www.endocrine.org/takeaction to make your voice heard and to protect the NIH and other research and public health agencies from severe cuts.