FY 1997 Funding Set for NIH, NSF, DoD, and FAA

On September 30, 1996, the last day of the 1996 Fiscal Year, Congress cleared for the President an omnibus appropriations bill that provided funds for the National Insitutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DoD), and several other departments and agencies through September 30, 1997. Congress and the President, eager to finish the legislative work and concentrate on the November elections, reached an agreement on additional domestic spending, transferring $1 billion from defense accounts, to bring final NIH spending levels to exceed the President's request. For more details on the research budgets (including tables) for NIH, the National Science Foudnation (NSF), DoD, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), go to the Public Policy (PPO) Web page at http://www.apa.org/ppo/ppo.html.

Report Language

PPO was successful in getting favorable report language in two appropriations bills. This is important because the departmens and agencies look closely at this language to comply with congressional directions. PPO, which lobbied to maintain DoD basic research funds in collaboration with the American Association of Universities' DoD Working Group, was also instrumental in advocating against an effort from within the Pentagon to eliminate funding for the Army Research Institute (ARI) in FY 1998. PPO worked with Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who inserted report language in the Senate FY 1997 Defense Appropriations bill directing DoD to '... evaluate this proposal and provide the Committee with results of this assessment not later than March 15, 1997.' PPO will continue its advocacy to ensure the continuation of funds for ARI--an important source of psychological research funds.

NIH received a strong 6.9% increase, including $90 million to begin construction of a new clinical center. APA was active in the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding and the Coalition for Health Funding in advocating for this increase. In addition, PPO staff worked with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to highlight several behavioral science initiatives at NIH in the report that accompanied the subcommittee■s bill. These included a National Cancer Institute review of its behavioral research portfolio, a commendation for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's support of research on psychological and behavioral development, and a recommendation that the National Institute on Drug Abuse conduct prevention research.

FY 1997 Funding Summary

NIH received $12.7 billion, a 6.9% increase for FY 1997. This extraordinary increase was partly to pay tribute to longtime champion Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who is retiring at the end of the session. The increase, too, is testament to other NIH defenders in Congress, including retiring Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS) and House Appropriations Subcommittee Chair John Porter (R-IL) whose leadership and negotiating skill made possible an increase seldom seen in the deficit-conscious 104th Congress.

The FY 1997 funding bill does not include a separate appropriation for the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR), as was the case in past years. However, the bill specifies that AIDS research funding, as determined by the directors of NIH and OAR, be allocated directly to OAR for distribution to the institutes, consistent with the AIDS research plan. The agreement includes a general provision permitting the directors of NIH and OAR to shift up to 3% of AIDS research funding between institutes and centers if needs change or unanticipated opportunities arise.

Funding for NSF was included in the FY 97 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, which was signed by the President September 26. The Research and Related Activities account received a 5.1% increase over FY 1996, and the Education and Human Resources account received a 3.3% increase. Other good news was the full funding of the Salaries and Expenses account, which the House had cut by $9 million in floor action in late June. With a few exceptions, the House and Senate funded DoD basic research (6.1 and 6.2) at, or above, the FY 1996 levels in their separate bills. The House/Senate conference report on DoD recommended a total of $11 billion over what the President had requested, but recommended a decrease in both Army and Navy 6.1 research from their FY 96 levels--2.2% and 4.2%, respectively (lower than in either the House or Senate bill).

DoD's FY 1997 appropriation was included in the omnibus appropriations bill when Congress failed to clear the individual bill. In the last minute negotiations on the omnibus bill, $1 billion was shifted from DoD to domestic spending (still leaving DoD $9 billion over what the President had requested). Over half of this $1 billion will come from DoD's Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget, which includes 6.1 and 6.2 basic research. So there may be additional decreases in 6.1 or 6.2 spending levels. The final figures won't be known until next year after the Pentagon completes its preprogramming exercise to accommodate the language in the omnibus bill.

FY 1997 funding for FAA was included in the Transportation appropriations bill, which was completed and signed by the President the last week in September. Human factors research was decreased by 11% in flight deck/maintenance/systems, and 14% in air traffic control/airway facilities. But doubling of funds for the aviation security human factors program boosted the total for the three programs to 1% over the FY 1996 level. This large increase for aviation security was undoubtedly related to congressional and presidential concerns about terrorist attacks on U.S. airliners. For more information, contact Patricia Kobor or Elizabeth Baldwin in PPO.

photo of Alice Eagly, PhD, and U. S. Rep. John E. Porter Alice Eagly, PhD, Chair of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs, met with U. S. Rep. John E. Porter (R-IL), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, in August 1996. She presented him with a letter of thanks for his steadfast support of research at the National Institutes of Health. Under Chairman Porter's leadership, the National Institutes of Health received an increase of 5.9% and 6.9% in FY 1996 and 1997, respectively.

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