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To Keep It Coming

Republican lawmakers say that the US National Institutes of Health will continue to receive funding increases, ScienceInsider reports.

Representative Tom Cole (R–OK) and Senator Roy Blunt (R–MO), the respective chairs of the House and Senate subcommittees dealing with health and human services, promise to increase NIH's budget by at least the $1 billion that has been requested by President Barack Obama.

"The most important thing, as Roy has already said, is to make sure that the $2 billion increase in 2016 is not a one-hit wonder," Cole said at a Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology-held event, according to ScienceInsider. "We want this to become a regular pattern for Congress, to make these NIH investments in a regular, manageable, and predictable way so that the scientific community knows they will continue."

How Cole and Blunt plan to do so, though, differs from the proposed White House budget. That proposal includes $1.8 billion in mandatory spending — most research funding is discretionary spending. Cole and Blunt instead suggest increasing NIH spending at the expense of other agencies their committees oversee.

"So I've told the White House that we're going to do at least what the president asked for, or more, but we're going to do it with discretionary dollars," Cole said at the event. "I said to them, 'You can either help me pick the programs you've asked for that aren't going to happen, or you can let me do it myself.'"