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Senator Reid's Economic Stimulus Bill Includes $1B in Additional NIH Funding; Passage Unlikely

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced an economic stimulus bill yesterday that includes an additional $1 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health for fiscal 2008.
The so-called Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd (D- W.Va.), proposes transferring the funds to the institutes and centers of NIH and to the Common Fund. The bill also contains $37.8 billion in additional federal Medicaid funds for states.
However, Democrats and aides to Sen. Reid have acknowledged that the bill is not likely to pass during the legislative session this week, and a broad stimulus package that would include a bailout for the automotive industry won’t likely come until the next legislative session in 2009.
“Studies have shown that every dollar invested in NIH generates more than twice that amount in state economic output, a tremendous return on investment,” Richard Marchase, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, said in a statement issued today. “The money for NIH included in the proposed stimulus will provide jobs all over the United States, and forestall delaying progress on treatments and cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other pressing health challenges.”
On Sept. 30, President George W. Bush began Fiscal Year 2009 by signing a resolution to fund the federal government for five more months at 2008 levels. Under the continuing resolution, most of the federal government, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which funds the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation and others, continued to receive funding at 2008 levels without adjustment for inflation to cover research costs. HHS as a whole was to receive an extra $150 million, which will cover salaries and expenses.

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