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Science bills hatch from lame duck

U.S. lawmakers pass NIH reform, biodefense initiative before adjourning for the year

Ted Agres
Members of the U.S. House and Senate concluded their post-election lame duck session over the weekend, having passed several key bills of importance to the biomedical research community but leaving many other matters, including passing budgets for the National Institutes of Health, to be taken up when the new, Democrat-controlled Congress returns in January. In a frenzy of last-minute work that took them into early Saturday morning (Dec. 9), lawmakers passed a bill to "reform" the NIH and give it a modest budget increase, subject to appropriations. They also approved a measure to create incentives for private biodefense research and development. Earlier in the lame duck session, Congress approved harsher penalties for animal rights terrorism and the Senate confirmed Andrew von Eschenbach to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006 (HR 6164), authorizes a 7% budget increase of $2...

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