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Trump Calls for 18 Percent Cut to NIH Budget in FY 2018

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – President Donald Trump is seeking to cut nearly $6 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health in fiscal 2018, according to a budget proposal released by the White House today.

The president's budget plan specifically calls for an 18 percent decrease in NIH funding to $25.9 billion from its current $31.7 billion. Included in this reduction is a $1 billion cut in funding to the National Cancer Institute to $4.5 billion; a $575 million decrease in funding to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to $2.5 billion; and an $838 million drop in funding to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to $3.8 billion.

The budget also proposes a series of NIH structural reforms such as the elimination of the Fogarty International Center, which was established to support international research capacity and training of researchers overseas, as well as a reduction in reimbursement of grantee administrative and facilities costs — known as indirect costs — "so that available funding can be better targeted toward supporting the highest priority research on diseases that affect human health."

President Trump's budget plan would also slash the US Food and Drug Administration's budget by 30 percent to $1.9 billion from $2.7 billion, although this drop would be offset by the proposed doubling of the agency's medical product user fees to roughly $2.4 billion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget, meanwhile, would be lowered by $1.3 billion in funding to $5.1 billion.

President Trump has called for reductions to the NIH's budget in the past but was unsuccessful due to strong resistance from Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike. Earlier this year, he called for a $1.2 billion cut in funding to the agency for the remainder of fiscal 2017, but ended up signing into a law a budget that increased its funding by $2 billion.