This year, the president’s proposal provides no increase at all for the National Institutes of Health. That may set up a replay of last year, with the large percentage increases for physical sciences offering an inviting target for budget cutters.
“It’s the same scenario going forward for the third year in a row,” said Kei Koizumi, director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “With not enough money, there really is no way to make everyone happy.”
Further complicating the process is the presidential election. There is widespread speculation that the Democratic-controlled Congress will delay passage of the budget bills in hopes that the next president will be a Democrat and more amenable to its priorities.
If that happens, the government would again run on continuing resolutions, continuing financing of operations at the current 2008 levels, and not the hoped-for higher levels of 2009.
If you notice, this is EXACTLY the scenario that I think will likely to occur.