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Senate Moderates Trim Stimulus Package without Touching NIH

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The group of moderate senators who on Friday night agreed to cut the economic recovery package spending down from over $900 billion to $780 billion did not remove any of the proposed $10 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health and some other bioscience and medical research.

The group of senators, who began talking late last week, was led by Susan Collins (R – Me.) and Ben Nelson (D – Neb.), and included Arlen Specter (R – Pa.), who supported an amendment to add $6.5 billion for the NIH that was submitted by Richard Durbin (D – Ill).

The Specter-Durbin amendment, along with the other Senate amendments, were not on the table for the compromise, and this group left untouched the other $3.5 billion for NIH that was in the original House of Representatives version of the bill, called the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The new agreement would give $1 billion for the National Science Foundation and $150 million for the equipment and facilities construction programs at NSF.

"This bipartisan agreement delivers the help millions of Americans need in this time of economic turmoil," Nelson said in a statement. "It fuels two powerful engines: major tax cuts for the middle class, and targeted investments in American infrastructure and job growth. It also pares back $110 billion of spending that didn't belong in the bill."

A full Senate vote may happen later today.

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