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Draft Senate Bill Seeks $2 Billion More for NIH

A Senate panel has approved a $2 billion boost to the US National Institutes of Health budget for 2016, ScienceInsider reports.

In its draft bill, a Senate appropriations committee panel gives an approximately 6 percent increase to the NIH budget, bringing it to $32 billion in total. This raise, ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser notes, is twice what President Barack Obama requested and some $900 million more than what's included in the House of Representatives draft bill.

The draft Senate bill includes $350 million for the National Institute on Aging, $200 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, and $100 million for an antibiotic resistance initiative, Kaiser notes. In addition, it gives $135 million to the BRAIN initiative and a $27 million boost to the Institutional Development Awards program.

The House draft bill, meanwhile, allocates an additional $1.1 billion in funding to NIH, though it gives roughly similar amounts towards Alzheimer's disease research, the precision medicine program, and the antibiotic resistance initiative.

Kaiser adds that the draft Senate bill is to be voted on today by the full Senate Appropriations Committee and would usually go in front of the full Senate next week, though that may be delayed due to partisan bickering over long-term budget issues. And then, she adds, the Senate and House versions would need to be reconciled.

Still, Pat White, president of ACT for NIH, tells her that the "Senate mark is obviously the best subcommittee action we have seen for NIH in more than 12 years."