The US Senate, in session for one day yesterday (December 9), declined to consider the $328.1 billion omnibus spending measure to fund 11 departments and numerous agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). On Monday (December 8), the House approved the measure 242 to 176. Action on the bill now is delayed until at least January 20, 2004, when Congress reconvenes.

The fiscal year (FY) 2004 consolidated conference bill (HR 2673) would give NIH $27.98 billion, a 3.7% increase of $1 billion over last year's appropriation and $318.6 million more than the White House had requested. NSF would receive $5.6 billion, an increase of $300 million over last year and $130 million more than requested by the White House. These amounts are before an across-the-board 0.59% budget cut is imposed on all programs and projects except defense and military construction funds.

House and...

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