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US Senate Passes FY 2019 Appropriations Bill With NIH Funding Increase

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The US Senate last night passed a spending bill for fiscal 2019 that would boost the National Institutes of Health's budget by $2 billion to $39.1 billion — a 5.4 percent increase over the agency's current funding level.

The appropriations package was approved by an 85 to 7 vote, and includes an additional $425 million for Alzheimer's research for a total of $2.3 billion; $429.4 million for the BRAIN initiative, a $29 million increase; and $376 million for the All of Us precision medicine study, $86 million more than in FY 2018.

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee first recommended the funding increases in June, with the full Senate appropriations committee giving its support shortly thereafter.

"For the fourth straight year, the Senate has provided record funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health — $2 billion additional dollars in the first year, $2 billion the second year, $3 billion the third year, and $2 billion this year, which is a 30 percent increase over the last four years," Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said in a statement. "As a result of investing in our biomedical research, we will have more access to life-changing treatments and cures, and see more medical miracles."

The appropriations bill is expected to be taken up by the House of Representatives after it returns to session in early September. Earlier this summer, the House appropriations committee called for a 3 percent increase in NIH funding for FY 2019 to $38.3 billion.