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House panel proposes $2-billion increase for NIH


By Jocelyn Kaiser

A spending panel in the U.S. House of Representatives has proposed giving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a $2 billion raise, for a total of $41.1 billion, in a draft bill released today. If adopted, that 5% raise for the 2020 fiscal year that begins on 1 October would more than reverse a $5 billion cut recommended by President Donald Trump, whose three budget blueprints have all called for slashing NIH funding.

The spending bill is the first put forward this year by the House Appropriations Committee, now in Democratic hands. But it is consistent with previous legislation written by Republican-led panels and, if passed, would provide the fifth consecutive substantial increase for NIH.

It includes $2.4 billion for Alzheimer’s research, an increase of $100 million. Funding for the All of Us precision medicine study would go up by $124 million, to $500 million. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative would receive $411 million.

A new 10-year Childhood Cancer Data Initiative proposed by Trump in his State of the Union address would receive a first-year allocation of $50 million. But funding for the Cancer Moonshot, an initiative begun in 2017 by former President Barack Obama’s administration, would drop by half to just $195 million. That reduction is written into its source of funding, the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims to speed the development of new treatments.

Reflecting Democrats’ priorities, the bill includes $25 million for firearms injury prevention research, which had not been tagged for a specific amount before and appears to be a substantial increase over current spending. HIV/AIDS funding, which had been flat at $3 billion since at least 2015, would grow to $3.2 billion.

The House subcommittee will vote on the bill on Tuesday afternoon. A more detailed report will be available once the legislation comes before the full appropriations committee.

Source: Science Mag