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Mandatory Science Spending?

President Barack Obama has requested $33.1 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health for fiscal year 2017, as GenomeWeb has reported. That's about a 3 percent increase over what was approved for NIH for FY'16.

This figure, it adds, includes some $1.8 billion in mandatory funding that would cover a number of presidential priorities — such as the cancer moonshot effort, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, ScienceInsider says. But, it adds, it'll be hard to get mandatory funding past Congress; as Stat News notes, mandatory funding is automatic and doesn't have to go through the usual congressional appropriations process.

"There will be little appetite in Congress for mandatory spending that diminishes fiscal discipline and congressional oversight," Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, says in a statement.

Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, tells ScienceInsider that "it's a pretty big gamble" to think that Congress would OK new mandatory funding.

The budget proposal also includes $2.74 billion for the US Food and Drug Administration, which would keep its budget just about flat; a 3.6 percent decrease for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and a $500 million or 6.7 percent increase for the National Science Foundation, though that too, seeks funds from both discretionary and mandatory spending sources. 

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