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Budget Hikes Look Likely as Senate Committee Approves NSF and NIH Funding Bills

NEW YORK, July 26--The last week has brought good budget news from the Senate Appropriations Committee for two federal agencies that underwrite research and development in genomics.


Yesterday, the committee approved a $5.3 billion budgetfor the National Science Foundation, an 11 percent increase over the fiscal year 2002 budget and $288 million more than the administration's request.


The funding is folded into the $91 billion HUD/VA spending bill, which still must wend its way through the full Congressional budget process. It generally is not finalized until the fall.


This request is roughly in line with the recommendations of the House science committee, which is backing an effort to double NSF funding within five years.


On July 18, the appropriations committee requested $27.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health for fiscal year 2003, more than 15 percent above funding levels for 2002. This cash boost, if approved in final conference later this year, would bring the agency's budget to double what it was in 1998.


As part of this bill, the committee requested that National Human Genome Research Institute funding be brought up to $468 million from $430.7 million in the current year, an increase of almost 9 percent.


The NIH budget recommendation will next be heard by the full Senate.