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House Committee Unanimously Approves Bill Seeking $10B Increase to NIH Funding

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill that would increase funding to the National Institutes of Health and advance precision medicine initiatives. 

The committee passed the bill by a 51-0 vote on Thursday. It will next go for a vote by the full House of Representatives. 

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who with Rep Diane DeGette, D-Colo., launched an initiative last year called 21st Century Cures to strengthen scientific and medical research in the US.

Among the provisions in the legislation is a proposal to increase funding to the National Institutes of Health by $10 billion over a five-year period starting in Fiscal Year 2016, when NIH would receive $31.81 billion under the bill, compared to the $31.3 billion proposed by President Obama in his budget request.  

In addition to the annual funding, the draft legislation would create an NIH Innovation Fund, funded at $2 billion each year for FY 2016 through FY 2020 for basic, translational, and clinical research. It also seeks to broadly define the roles of the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary and the US Food and Drug Administration to advance precision medicine. The secretary would be required to provide and update guidance and information to assist those practicing precision medicine. 

"In the last century, American medicine leapt from medicine shows to the mapping of the human genome," DeGette said in a statement. "With the 21st Century Cures Act, we seek to support the biomedical community in making a similar leap forward in this next century."