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Senate Passes $400M in Supplemental NIH Funding Along with War Bill

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Senate passed legislation today that would give the National Institutes of Health an extra $400 million this year to supplement the funding it received under the 2008 budget.
The NIH money is just a side-note on a domestic spending attachment to a $156 billion war and veterans’ appropriations bill that has become a point of contention between presidential candidates and the sitting President.
All of the domestic spending attached to the war bill passed, Kei Koizumi, program director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told GenomeWeb Daily News today.
The full text of the bill and its amendments has not yet been posted to the Congressional Record, but Koizumi and other sources following the status of the bill confirmed that the full domestic spending portion, including the $400 million for NIH, had passed without change.  
As GenomeWeb Daily News reported last week, the additional $400 million proposed in an amendment to the war bill by Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa), would augment a 2008 NIH budget that represents the fifth year of roughly stagnant funding for the agency.
While the bill has drawn criticism from some Republicans and from President George W. Bush because of the domestic spending and because of some of the details in a GI Bill extension, it passed today 75 to 22. Two of the four senators who were absent or who did not vote on the bill today were presidential candidates Senators John McCain (R – Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D – Ill.).
While the House version of the bill did not include the extra spending for the NIH, Carrie Wolinetz of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology said today it is likely that the House will use the Senate version of the bill.
Bush said at the end of April that he has been “very clear” with Congress that he would not accept a supplemental war funding bill if it tallies up at over $108 billion, which is $48 billion less than what the Senate passed today.

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