Great news: Initial GOP list of proposed cuts mostly spares NIH!

Everyone has been understandably stressed about how the ongoing federal legislative process might effect funding for research including stem cell research. Particularly worrisome was the proposal from the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives to cut $100 billion from the budget.

Today brought news (reported at one of my favorite blogs, The Great Beyond) that in some respect things may not turn out as badly as we thought.

House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers released a partial list of spending cuts from Obama’s proposed budget for 2011 that would reduce spending by a total of $74 billion. Keep in mind that all cuts are relative to Obama’s proposed 2011 budget.

In the case of NIH, the proposed cut would be $1 billion. This is of course not good news, but the silver lining is that this would, reportedly, leave NIH with essentially the same budget for FY2011 as it had in 2010.  This is what many of us had seen as perhaps the best-case scenario so in a way this is in fact good news.

Nothing is finalized, but the fact that the Republicans are clearly not painting a bull’s eye on NIH from the start is at least very encouraging at this point.

Other science-related agencies may not fare so well. For example, the DOE’s Office of Science was targeted on the list for a painful 20% reduction. However, from a strictly stem cell research funding perspective, the list could have been dramatically worse.

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