publication date: Nov. 3, 2017

House appropriators push back on Trump proposal to cap NIH facilities and administrative costs at 10%

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

The Trump administration should consider NIH and the biomedical research enterprise as a component of the nation’s “defense” when making budgetary decisions, said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor-HHS, Education, and Related Agencies.

On Oct. 24, House appropriators convened an oversight hearing in response to President Donald Trump’s May 23 proposal to limit the reimbursement rate for auxiliary expenses associated with NIH research grants to a cap of 10 percent of total research (The Cancer Letter, May 26, March 24, March 17).

The subcommittee had previously rejected the proposal on July 13, committing instead to increase NIH’s budget by $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2018 (The Cancer Letter, July 14).

“I’ve had this discussion with my friends at [the Office of Management and Budget] and with the administration—they need to look at NIH and the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] like defense, too, because it just really is,” Cole said at the hearing.

Cole noted that the administration’s budget proposal doesn’t call for capping indirect costs for defense research at 10 percent, applying these cuts only to NIH. At current rates, indirect costs, also known as “facilities and administrative costs,” can be reimbursed at up to 60 percent of the grant amount.

In 1994, the federal government capped the administrative component of the reimbursement rate at 26 percent. This cap is one aspect of the overall rate, which differs by university. Each institution negotiates its own rates—one for facilities, and one for administration. … Continue reading House appropriators push back on Trump proposal to cap NIH facilities and administrative costs at 10%

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