NIH Getting Big Boost?

In a draft spending bill, the federal agency gets a $1 billion increase in 2012.

Oct 3, 2011
Bob Grant

WIKIMEDIA, REVISORWEB

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is slated to get a $1 billion boost next year if the draft version of a 2012 spending bill released by the House of Representatives last week makes its way through the legislative process unchanged. The increase would raise the NIH's 2012 budget by more than 3 percent over this year's allocation, and would match what President Barack Obama requested for the biomedical research agency.

The news comes as a surprise, with talks of deep and wide cuts to the federal budget swirling around Washington, DC, as the nation struggles to dig itself out of an economic hole. Earlier this year, in fact, the House cut the NIH's 2011 budget by 1 percent after threatening to cut it by 5 percent, and just last month a Senate panel approved a $190-million trim to the agency’s funds.

But the draft bill ignores some key, agency-wide organizational provisions proposed by NIH administrators and makes cuts to some projects, such as health professions training programs. "We're heartened by the statement of support for the NIH, but that's tempered by what else has been cut," David Moore, director of government relations at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told ScienceInsider.

The House version of the bill will now be negotiated against a Senate version, and the full legislature is expected to pass a 2012 spending bill by the end of November.