When the lame duck session begins Tuesday, Congress will most likely pass a compromise version of the Homeland Security bill. But far less likely is quick action on the long-stalled budgets for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and most other science-related agencies, Hill staffers and observers say. Policy experts at the major US scientific and biomedical organizations will be watching this week's session closely, not only to monitor legislation produced now, but to glean insights into what may lie ahead for the next two years.

Measures of interest include: Appropriations bills to complete the doubling – and even begin the process of tripling – NIH's budget, as well as appropriations to begin doubling NSF's budget; passage of legislation creating the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will direct the agenda of hundreds of millions of dollars in new bioterrorism-related research funds, possibly weakening...

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