If you were playing with an app on your phone, you would have missed it. Earlier today, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY14 Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education appropriations bill without amendment and by voice vote. The bill, which is notable for its funding for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), includes $30.9 billion for the NIH, which is $1.6 billion more than the NIH's FY13 budget, after sequestration.
The 5.4% increase in the budget for the NIH is out of this world when compared with the expected double digit cut that the House Appropriations Committee may impose on the agency within several weeks. If the Senate version were to become the final FY14 budget for the NIH, it would finally return the NIH budget to its FY12 funding level before sequestration slashed budgets.
In reality, it is unlikely that the Senate figure will be the final FY14 NIH budget. While the entire Senate FY14 federal budget ignores the existence of sequestration, the budget being assembled by the House of Representatives includes the budget cuts associated with sequestration. Before a final NIH budget becomes law, the Senate and the House of Representatives will have to reach some sort of compromise.