publication date: Mar. 30, 2018

New players, new strategies, new resolve raise NIH budget to new level

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

Story 1 Research!America

Photo courtesy of  Research!America

The Research!America 2018 Advocacy Awards Dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium March 14

On March 14, beneath the soaring ceiling of the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faced a constellation of round tables at the Research!America 2018 Advocacy Awards Dinner.

“We must remain constantly, constantly vigilant to ensure that we have the critical funding for medical research,” said Pelosi. “Now, I just saw Dr. [NIH Director Francis] Collins a moment ago, and I said to him, ‘I think it’s possible that we will be adding $3 billion to the NIH budget this year.’”

What? Three billion? Did the House minority leader get her numbers wrong?

The latest draft of the Senate HHS appropriations bill had slated a $2 billion raise; the House version, only $1.1 billion. Plus, President Donald Trump had proposed axing NIH by 22 percent for 2018 and 27 percent for 2019. Would Pelosi be the first politician to get a bit farshimmelt?

Actually, Pelosi statement wasn’t a gaffe. It was, instead, a blab. Behind the scenes, House and Senate proponents of raising the NIH budget were working to give biomedical research an increase of the sort not seen in 15 years. The cognoscenti took vows of silence.

Indeed, on March 23, Trump—after making an evanescent veto threat—signed the FY18 omnibus bill to fund the federal government through September. The $3 … Continue reading New players, new strategies, new resolve raise nih budget to new level

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