WASHINGTON—NIH is cutting research grants to scientists by as much as 20 percent to keep in step with a Reagan budget proposal that is given little chance of being adopted this year by Congress.

Lobbying organizations for the biomedical community are preparing to sue the government to halt what they claim is a violation of the wishes of Congress and of the appropriate procedure to achieve such spending reductions.

The administration, believing Congress was overly generous to NIH, wants to transfer to next year's budget $334 million of the $6.2 billion appropriated for the current fiscal year (see The Scientist, January 26, 1987). The shift in funds would be achieved by awarding 700 fewer new and competing grants and by trimming $218 million from the grants that are awarded or renewed.

Deputy Director William Raub said that NIH had to begin reducing grants awards in January "to ensure...

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