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House Clears Stimulus with R&D Bucks in Partisan Split

This article has been corrected to reflect that 11 House Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in voting against the bill.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The US House of Representatives last night passed an economic stimulus bill that includes a $3.9 billion funding boost for the National Institutes of Health, as well as $3.4 billion to spend on research infrastructure.

The first major vote of the 111th Congress, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed along mostly partisan lines, with 244 house Democrats in favor of the act, and 11 Democrats joining all House Republicans voting against it.

As GenomeWeb Daily News reported last week, the package includes $20 billion to advance health information technology initiatives, $460 million for renovation at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions for other agencies that fund biomedical research and genomics, according to the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees.

For example, $900 million would fund advanced biomedical R&D, pandemic flu, and cyber security protections at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Congressman Dave Obey (D- Wis.), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement after the bill passed yesterday that the R&D funding plans belong in the stimulus package because they are "attempts to modernize the economy and begins the long process of doing that by accelerating the development of new technology through key investments in science and energy."

According to OpenCongress, which tracks the House and Senate for the Sunlight Foundation, Congress expects to have a bill ready for President Barack Obama to sign by mid-February.

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