WASHINGTON—The proposed 5.4 percent increase next year for NIH is expected to be taken more seriously by Congress than previous budgets that President Reagan has submitted for health research.

The 1989 request would lift the current NIH budget of $6.667 billion to $7.123 billion, a figure that includes $588 million for AIDS research. Last year NIH received $448 million for AIDS, a little less than one-half of the total federal spending on the disease.

“This is the most realistic budget we’ve sent up in a long time,” observed one NIH legislative staff member. The aide speculated that the modest size of the proposal could make it difficult for Congress to follow past practice and write its own budget that provides for greater increases.

Last year Congress ignored Reagan’s request to trim NIH’s budget and approved double-digit increases for several institutes and for the fight against AIDS.

"It should be acknowledged...

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