Congressional action on a budget deal in the final days of 2013 means that things are looking up somewhat heading into 2014. On December 10, 2013, U.S. House and Senate budget negotiators reached a deal that may reverse some federal budget cuts in 2014 and 2015. The deal raises budget caps that were established by Congress as part of its deficit reduction efforts in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Table 1).
If the deal is approved by Congress—which as of press time looks likely—appropriations for both defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) appropriations would increase from the caps. NDD appropriations include funding for medical research, public health, and other non–defense-related public services.
While the deal does not replace all of the budget cuts, it is a start. Under the proposal, the NDD cap for 2014 would increase to about $492 billion (up from $468 billion in 2013). If passed, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees would have discretion of which NDD programs to allocate these new dollars towards. Under that scenario, chances are favorable that funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the biggest funder of medical research in the world, would be restored to 2012 levels of $30.8 billion—an increase of $1.1 billion in funding from 2013 levels. It is also possible NIH could even get a slight increase over 2012.
“This is a good deal for kidney disease patients,” said ASN President Sharon M. Moe, MD, FASN. “ASN is urging Congress to pass this legislation, and I hope lawmakers will move quickly to adopt it and pass a budget that restores funding to NIH.”
Advancing research is one of ASN’s central missions and public policy priorities for 2014. ASN’s research advocacy consists of congressional advocacy to raise awareness of and advocate for appropriations for kidney research, and advocacy within federal research agencies for support for kidney research.