Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, tells Yahoo! News' Katie Couric that Congress' decision to give the agency an additional $2 billion in funding for this year was heartening as there had been concern that the NIH budget might be cut, as the Trump Administration had proposed.
"To have Congress make this clear of a statement is reassuring," Collins tells her. Collins was appointed as NIH director during the previous Obama Administration and has been held over by the Trump Administration.
If the proposed budget decreases were to be enacted for 2018, Collins says NIH would have to scale back. In particular, he notes that as the agency has already committed to supporting research projects in the coming years, it would have to cut back on funding new projects. "It would be a year where we would give very few new grants, the lowest in history," he says.
For the existing grants, Collins tells Couric that NIH would try to live up to the commitment the agency made to those researchers, but that it might have to shorten or decrease those as well.
Collin also notes that he was honored to have been asked to stay on as NIH director and says he'll "keep it up until somebody tells me to stop."