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NIH Boost Sought

A Senate subcommittee approved a $2 billion increase in funding for the US National Institutes of Health for 2017, as GenomeWeb has reported. This would bring the agency's annual budget to $34 billion, a slightly more than a 6 percent increase.

"This is tremendous and we are profoundly grateful to [committee leaders] for taking a critical step toward rebuilding the stability of the NIH budget," Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, tells ScienceInsider.

In particular, the proposed budget includes an additional $100 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, $100 million more for the BRAIN Initiative, and a $216.3 million boost for the National Cancer Institute, as GenomeWeb reports.

It does not, though, make use of mandatory spending, ScienceInsider notes. President Barack Obama suggested such an approach earlier this year to fund certain priority projects like the PMI, the BRAIN initiative, and the Cancer Moonshot as part of his $33.1 billion budget request for NIH.

ScienceInsider adds that the moonshot project was not included in the bill and that subcommittee member Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN) suggested it could receive mandatory funding as part of the innovation bills.

The proposed spending bill is to go before the entire Senate appropriations committee Thursday.