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Fiscal Year 2024 Funding Bills (Finally!) Enacted and Fiscal Year 2025 Begins

By PAA Web posted 26 days ago

  

Congress Praises NIH Population Research Programs

US Capitol Dome against a blue sky

March 2024 proved to be a decisive month for action on the Federal budget. On March 23, six months after Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 began, Congress finally passed, and sent to President Biden to sign into law, the remaining six appropriations bills needed to fully fund all Federal government agencies. Included in this second batch of bills was the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill, which funds most agencies of interest to population scientists, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Other agencies important to the field, especially the U.S. Census Bureau and National Science Foundation (NSF), received their funding as part of the first “minibus” spending package Congress passed in early March. That measure included the other six funding bills, including the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, which supports the NSF and Census Bureau.

FY 2024

Since FY 2024 began October 1, 2023, Congress has passed four continuing resolutions (CRs) to keep the Federal government open while deliberating the final budget details. On more than one occasion, the threat of a Federal government was imminent.

Scientific research advocacy organizations, including the Population Association of America (PAA) and Association of Population Centers (APC), are pleased that a Federal government shutdown was averted, and final FY 2024 spending agreements were ultimately enacted. Budget uncertainty and the constant threat of potential Federal government shutdowns hampers scientific research and increases administrative burdens. Nonetheless, the final FY 2024 spending measures rendered disappointing totals across the board. Even Federal agencies that have historically received generous annual spending increases, such as the NIH, received, essentially, flat funding.

Why were the final FY 2024 funding figures so disappointing?  The primary culprit was the strict budget caps that Congress and President Biden agreed to last year as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The overarching caps for defense and non-defense funding limited how much money was allocated across the 12 appropriations bills. Some of the bills, including the CJS bill, received proportionately less than others.

Another complicating factor was the plethora of policy riders on topics such as abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ+ policies sought by Republicans, which held up the bills’ progress for several months. In the end funding concessions were made to beat back some of the most damaging riders. Unfortunately, the result includes sizable funding cuts to Federal science agencies, returning some agency budgets to below their FY 2023 levels (see table below).

A bit of good news emerged in the final FY 2024 spending measure. First and foremost, the report accompanying the bill funding the NIH, known as the “explanatory statement,” affirmed the inclusion of language praising population research programs at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). In addition, within the NIH total, NICHD and NIA received modest funding increases over their FY 2023 spending levels. Specifically, NICHD received $1.759 billion (0.6% increase over its FY 2023 level) and the National Institute on Aging, which received $4.507 billion (2.3% increase over its FY 2023 level).

Over the next month, agencies will be developing their FY 2024 spending plans. While the details of these plans are not public, the practical implications of the reduced spending levels will become evident when program initiatives, data product releases, and grant awards are potentially curtailed. Given FY 2024 is already almost half over, science advocates hope the impact of the reduced spending levels, however, will be minimal.

Agencies

Enacted: FY 2023

Final: FY 2024

 

% difference

NIH

 

$48.9 billion

$48.5 billion

-0.8%

NCHS

$187.4 million

$187.4 million

0%

BLS

$698 million

$698 million

0%

IES

$807.6 million

$793.1 million

-1.8%

AHRQ

$373.5 million

$369 million

-1.2%

Census Bureau

$1.50 billion

$1.38 billion

-6.9%

NSF

$9.87 billion

$9.06 billion

-8.2%


FY 2025

With FY 2024 completed, the time is now to look ahead and focus on Fiscal Year 2025. On March 11, almost a month late, President Biden submitted his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget to Congress, marking the first formal step in the annual appropriations process. Congress will consider the President’s request as it begins holding committee hearings and drafting the 12 appropriations bills. Ideally, all bills would be passed by Congress and sent to the President to be signed into law before FY 2025 begins on October 1, 2024.

PAA and APC, as members of coalitions, including the Coalition for Health Funding, Coalition for National Science Funding, Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, The Census Project, and Friends of NCHS, have endorsed specific levels of funding for our field’s primary Federal agencies of interest. The below table compares the President’s request with those levels that PAA and APC have endorsed for FY 2025. 

On March 5, PAA and APC sponsored their 2024 Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. A major objective of this event was to promote PAA and APC’s FY 2025 funding recommendations and discuss how this funding impacts the population sciences.

The PAA APC Office of Government and Public Affairs will keep members apprised of the FY 2025 appropriations negotiations and issue grassroots alerts when warranted. These alerts will facilitate the ability of PAA members to communicate with their congressional representatives throughout the FY 2025 appropriations process.   

Agencies

Proposed: FY 2025

 

 Endorsed: FY 2025 Level

         

NIH

$50.1 billion

$51.3 billion

NCHS

$187.4 million

$220 million

BLS

$ 712.7 million

$812 million

IES

$815.4 million

$900 million

AHRQ

$387.3 million

$500 million

Census Bureau

$1.57 billion

$2 billion

NSF

$10.1 billion

$11.9 billion


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