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Trump Huffs and Puffs … but NIH Budget Hits a Historic High

President Trump has not been restrained about threatening to cut funding to the National Institutes of Health, but according to Vox, the agency has made out pretty well under his administration.

In last week's omnibus spending bill, the NIH got a $3 billion increase in federal funding, on top of a $2 billion booster shot from Congress last year. The budget for the agency is now at $37 billion, which is an historic high in actual dollars "and a number that finally, after years of neglect, begins to make up for the losses the agency has seen when you account for inflation," says Vox

Remember that Trump has at various times threatened to slash funding for the NIH. In his first NIH budget, he sought to cut the approximately $30 billion NIH billion budget by $6 billion. As recently as last month, Trump asked for a 27 percent cut to the NIH budget, although at the same time, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney also asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to allocate more money to the agency that would have brought the total budget to $33 billion. 

In spite of the threats to NIH's coffers, though, "Things have been going pretty well at NIH" one staff member at a "major disease research organization" told Vox.

In addition to the robust budget picture, the publication pointed to the retaining of Francis Collins as NIH director as a plus and noted his dexterity at navigating the current chaotic Washington political scene. His pet project, precision medicine, remains alive, and recently the All of Us Research Program launched its initiative to collect genetic and other data from 1 million patients.

Meantime, projects from the Obama administration, such as Joe Biden's cancer moonshot effort, are still standing.