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Not So Much For It

Both Democrats and Republicans in the US House of Representatives seized on a hearing on biomedical research to note their disapproval of the Trump Administration's calls to cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health, ScienceInsider reports.

The Trump Administration called for a 20 percent decrease to the NIH budget for fiscal year 2018 in its budget outline back in March and further said that an additional $1.2 billion could be cut from it for the current fiscal year. Instead, Congress gave NIH a $2 billion boost for fiscal year 2017.

In the hearing this week, Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said he was "very proud" of the increase Congress gave NIH, ScienceInsider reports. He added that the proposed cuts would "stall progress" and "potentially discourage promising young scientists" from research.

Similarly, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said such a cut would "decimate biomedical research and the economy" as some 5,000 to 8,000 fewer grants would be funded and thousands of jobs would be lost.

ScienceInsider notes that though NIH Director Francis Collins was at the hearing, lawmakers didn't ask him about the proposed cuts; it said that they might have bee trying to avoid putting Collins in an awkward position. It adds that Collins instead recounted how basic research has fueled new drugs and defended overhead cost payments.