publication date: Jun. 10, 2016

Senate Appropriators Propose
$2 Billion Increase for NIH 


The Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up a bipartisan spending bill June 9 that gives NIH a $2 billion increase in the 2017 fiscal year.

NCI is to receive a $216 million increase over FY 2016.

Passed on a 29-1 vote, the measure boosts the NIH budget to $34 billion and now moves to consideration by full Senate. Funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remain flat.

“This is the first bipartisan Senate Labor-HHS bill in seven years,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement.

The White House proposed a $33.1 billion appropriation for NIH in 2017. An $825 million infusion included $680 million for Biden’s moonshot and $100 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, and $45 million in new money for the BRAIN initiative.

In the 2016 fiscal year, NIH received a $2 billion raise for a total of $31.3 billion, and NCI’s budget was increased from $4.95 billion to $5.2 billion (The Cancer Letter, Feb. 12).

For NIH, the Senate committee bill includes:

• $300 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, an increase of $100 million;

• $250 million for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain, an increase of $100 million;

• $1.39 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, an increase of $400 million;

• $333.4 million, an increase of $12.5 million, for the Institutional Development Award;

• $463 million, an increase of $50 million, to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria;

• $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act;

• Increases to the budgets of every institute and center.

“We are thrilled the NIH received a robust funding increase in the Senate Labor-HHS appropriations bill,” Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, said in a statement. “A second year of significant funding after a decade of relatively flat budgets will help to expand the innovative research supported by NIH.”

However, Wooley noted that appropriations for the CDC and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality were reduced. “While we are grateful for the NIH funding increase, we urge appropriators to restore funding for the CDC and AHRQ to at least FY16 levels,” Wooley said.

The CDC cancer prevention and control activities are to receive $356.2 million, the same as FY2016. This includes funding for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer screening programs. The administration had proposed to cut these programs by more than $54 million.

“Senators should be commended for prioritizing investment in medical research in a tough budget environment,” American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network President Chris Hansen said in a statement. “The $216 million increase for the NCI builds on an increase in the FY16 budget that passed with bipartisan support.

“The National Cancer Moonshot Initiative has generated tremendous national appetite to accelerate new discoveries in cancer in this country,” Hansen said. “We urge senators to come together to find a way to supplement the discretionary appropriations with mandatory funding for cancer research in the biomedical innovation package.

“At a time when the country is poised to make tremendous advances in our understanding of the more than 200 diseases collectively known as cancer, significant year over year funding increases are paramount to our ability to maximize the potential for new discovery.”

In another highlight, the bill provides $261 million to combat opioid abuse.

Overall, the Senate bill provides $161.9 billion in base discretionary spending, which is $270 million below the FY2016 level and $2 billion below the president’s budget request.

“Today’s action by the Senate Appropriations Committee is an important bipartisan achievement in prioritizing the important research efforts of our nation’s researchers and physician scientists that work tirelessly to provide hope to the millions of families battling devastating diseases such as cancer,” the American Association for Cancer Research said in a statement.

“The AACR looks forward to working with the entire Senate, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives over the next many months to ensure that an FY 2017 Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Bill that includes at least a $2 billion increase for the NIH is sent to the president for his signature.”

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