As a result of the veto by Bush of the the fiscal year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, if the veto is not overriden by Congress, the NIH will receive a de facto 3.7% funding cut:
The bill, H.R.3043, also sought to bolster the budgets of the departments of Labor and Education, and carried a request for a total of $150.7 billion. Since its introduction in July, Bush has said he would veto the bill because it overshot his own budget recommendations.
“We were hoping that [Bush’s veto] wouldn’t be the case,” Carrie Wolinetz, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) spokesperson, told The Scientist. “But the threat had been there.”
The NIH budget has been stagnant over the past few years, with government funding increasing by only about $1.4 billion between 2003 and 2006.
The vetoed bill also included a provision requiring NIH-funded researchers to post the full text of their research papers on the National Library of Medicine’s publicly accessible PubMed Central website within a year of publication. This provision survived an attack by Republican Senator James Inhofe in October to remain intact in the final version of the bill sent to the president.
The bill cleared the House of Representatives only three votes shy of the two-thirds majority it would have needed to avoid Bush’s veto. As H.R.3043 returns to Capitol Hill, where legislators will hold a veto override vote, Wolinetz said that FASEB will continue encouraging its 80,000-strong membership to urge their legislators to support the bill and overturn the presidential veto.