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Congress Boosts NIH Funding to $37.1B in New Spending Bill

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Congressional leaders last night released a spending bill that includes a $3 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, bringing the agency's fiscal year 2018 budget to $37.1 billion.

The omnibus appropriations bill includes increases for every NIH institute and center, and specifically earmarks $1.8 billion for Alzheimer's disease research, a $414 million increase over FY2017; $400 million for the BRAIN Initiative, a $140 million increase over last year; and $290 million for the All of Us precision medicine initiative, a $60 million boost over the previous year.

While President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to cut the NIH's budget, increasing investment in the agency has been a priority in recent years for both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

"The previous two funding increases for the National Institutes of Health have fundamentally changed the prospects of scientists looking to treat and cure the most costly and deadly diseases impacting millions of Americans," Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, said in a statement. "This year's increase will further that progress and advance our goal of maintaining a pattern of sustained increases for medical research."

The spending bill, which would fund the government until the end of the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, also provides $5.1 billion to the US Food and Drug Administration — $483 million more than FY2017 — and includes $996 million in 21st Century Cures Act funding.

The full House and Senate have until March 23 to pass the appropriations measure, which is expected to be signed by President Trump.