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Spending Bill Passed in US

The US Senate passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill yesterday, according to Politico. The Scientist notes that the House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this week and that, if enacted, it would boost the federal research budget as well establish a new health agency.

The bill includes a 5 percent increase to the research budgets of many federal agencies, Science adds. In particular, CNN says the bill includes a $2.25 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health budget, bringing it to $45 billion, as well as $1 billion to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.

However, CNN notes that the bill does not contain funding for COVID-19 relief efforts. It adds that the spending bill initially included $15.6 billion for COVID-19 response and research, but that that was stripped from the bill this week as lawmakers courted votes. Politico adds that Democratic leaders plan to work to secure more funding for COVID-19 relief efforts, including for investigating emerging variants.

The spending bill additionally includes a further $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, according to CNN.