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Congress Proposes $30.3B in 2015 Funding for NIH

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Congress is seeking to increase funding to the National Institutes of Health by $150 million for a total of $30.3 billion as part of its fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill released on Tuesday. 

The bill provides more than $1.013 trillion in total funding to the federal government for fiscal 2015, which began on Oct. 1 and provides funding for all of the federal agencies and departments, except the Department of Homeland Security, which is being funded under a temporary Continuing Resolution. 

The $30.3 billion to NIH is part of a total of $156.8 billion in discretionary funding for the US departments of Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education. The $156.8 billion was $926 million less than what President Obama requested and is flat with the fiscal 2014 funding level. 

Despite the $150 million funding increase to the NIH, Carrie Wolinetz, president of United for Medical Research, said more is needed. 

"Congress has missed a major opportunity to fund advances in science and medicine that improve our nation's health and economic outlook, with nearly flat funding for the National Institutes of Health in its FY15 omnibus bill," she said in a statement. "With millions of deaths annually from disease, millions more receiving devastating diagnoses every day, and a decade of declining funding slowing the progress of scientists in research labs across the country, we call on Congress to renew its effort to fund vital medical research supported by NIH." 

UMR is a group comprising a variety of research institutions and organizations, including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Heart Association, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Its goal is to increase funding to NIH. 

"Sustained increases to the NIH budget are necessary to close our nation's innovation deficit — the widening gap between the current medical research funding levels and the investment required to ensure the US remains the world's innovation leader," Wolinetz added. 

The NIH funding will continue basic biomedical research and translational research through programs such as the Clinical and Translational Science Awards and Institutional Development Award, the office of Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. It also includes specific increases in funding targeted to Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and brain research. 

The NIH amount also includes $28 million for Ebola-related research. A total of $2.7 billion in emergency funding for the Ebola crisis is targeted by the bill to Labor-HHS-Education. 

Aside from NIH, the Omnibus bill includes $3.6 billion for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and $6.9 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including $30 million to support the Advanced Molecular Detection program to detect and stop deadly infectious disease outbreaks.