The U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan, 2-year budget agreement that is expected to ease pressure to cut spending on research. Today’s 64 to 36 vote clears the way for President Barack Obama to sign the measure, and for congressional appropriators to finalize spending bills for specific agencies for the 2014 fiscal year, which began on 1 October. Lawmakers need to reach agreement by 15 January, when a current deal giving agencies the authority to spend money expires.
Research advocates greeted the news with cautious optimism. “While full repeal of sequestration is our ultimate goal, today’s action by Congress represents a positive step toward restoring funding for lifesaving biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),” said Carrie Wolinetz, president of the advocacy group United for Medical Research, in a statement. “Moving forward, we urge the Appropriations committees to allocate the funds necessary to continue to allow NIH and the medical research enterprise to fuel U.S. jobs, the economy and the health of our nation.”