publication date: Jun. 23, 2017

Senate appropriations subcommittee members vow to resist Trump proposal to cut NIH budget

By Claire Dietz

If the June 22 Senate appropriations hearing is an indication, President Donald Trump will encounter considerable difficulty in accomplishing his stated goal of cutting the NIH budget by 21 percent in fiscal 2018. 

As their congressional colleagues were ramping up partisan warfare over replacement of the Affordable Care Act, members the Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies expressed bipartisan support for providing sustained increases for biomedical research.

While the White House can only submit a budget proposal, members of Congress put together the actual spending bills. At the hearing Thursday, expressions of support formed the underpinning for every question that was asked—and, just as importantly—the questions not asked.

As a newly appointed—make it reappointed—NIH director, Francis Collins is obligated to defend Trump’s budget. However, members of the Senate committee appeared to take special care to avoid asking him to do so explicitly.

The hearing focused on the controversial aspects of the president’s proposal, with legislators taking the opportunity to characterize Trump’s plan as ill-advised and counterproductive, while being sensitive to Collins’s delicate position as a Trump appointee.

The administration’s proposal includes:

A whopping 20 percent cut to NCI,

Capping indirect costs that are paid to … Continue reading Senate appropriations subcommittee members vow to resist Trump proposal to cut NIH budget

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