The 2006 fiscal year is fast approaching, but Congress has yet to finalize budgets for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, and other key research agencies. An influential House committee, meanwhile, has been drafting legislation that would radically restructure the NIH.

On June 24, the House approved the 2006 Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill (HR 3010), which provides $28.5 billion for NIH, a 0.5% increase of $142.3 million, slightly less than the Bush administration's request. The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 14 approved a more generous $29.4 billion budget (S Rept 109-103), a 3.7% boost of $1.05 billion—$905 million more than requested by the administration. Unless spending measures are in place by Oct. 1, Congress will have to pass continuing resolutions to keep the agencies operating at current-year levels, a situation that has occurred in the past several years.

The final NIH budget is...

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