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$10B Marked for NIH in Final Stimulus Bill for Full Vote

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The House of Representatives will soon vote on the latest draft of a $789.5 billion stimulus package that contains $10 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health, according to a report from the office of the Speaker of the House.

A conference agreement between the members of the House and Senate yesterday to forward a trimmed-down draft of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $8.5 billion to fund research at NIH, and $1.5 billion to the NIH for renovations, according to a document circulated by staff from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D – Calif.) office.

The $1.5 billion would be used to renovate university research facilities to help schools compete for biomedical research grants.

The committee included $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research aimed at improving the quality of healthcare and effectiveness of different treatments. Though from the preliminary document released by Pelosi's office, it is not immediately clear how much, if any, of that would go to NIH.

Another $1 billion is marked for a "Prevention and Wellness Fund" aimed at lowering overall health care costs through preventive healthcare programs.

If this draft of the act passes, the National Science Foundation would receive $3 billion for basic research, the Department of Energy's Office of Science would net $1.6 billion for various research, including biofuels studies, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology would receive $580 million for the Technology Innovation Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

If the House and Senate pass the bill within the next couple days, President Barack Obama could sign the stimulus package before Congress takes its first scheduled break of the session, which begins this weekend.

The $10 billion in NIH funding in the conference agreement is a $6.5 billion jump over the initial House version of the bill, as it was added through a Senate amendment.

The Senate agreed to a version of the bill with the NIH amendment on Tuesday by a vote of 61 to 37.

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