NIH Gets Second Major Budget Boost in Row
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President Clinton signed an omnibus budget bill on Nov. 29 that gives NIH its second record-breaking budget increase in a row. The FY 2000 appropriation for NIH is $17,913,470,000, an increase of more than $2.3 billion from FY 1999, and about $1.98 billion more than the President's budget, which called for a 2 percent increase for the agency. The 14.9 percent boost for FY 2000 matches the 14.9 increase realized in FY 1999, which represented NIH's biggest dollar increase ever.
However, the bill includes $3 billion in delayed obligations, not available until Sept. 29, 2000, and an across-the-board budget cut of 0.38 percent; NIH is among the agencies affected by this reduction but will have flexibility in applying the cut, with no program to be trimmed by more than 15 percent. According to Sue Quantius, NIH associate director for budget, NIH's share of the budget cut is in the range of 0.55 percent, or a reduction of some $98 million.
The bill will result in budget increases at all of NIH's 24 institutes and centers, as well as the Office of the Director. It will also boost to nearly 10,000 the number of new and competing research project grants supported in FY 2000. The National Cancer Institute, NIH's largest, will get an increase of 14.8 percent to $3.3 billion, while NHLBI, the second largest institute, will realize a gain of 14.5 percent to a total of $2 billion. The National Human Genome Research Institute budget is set to rise by 25.4 percent, to a total of $337 million, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine gets a 37.5 percent increase to $69 million. The Office of AIDS Research, part of the Office of the Director, gets $44.953 million and the Foundation for NIH is set to receive $500,000.
The omnibus bill directs NIH to transfer $20 million from NIAID to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Jan. 15, 2000, for study of the safety and efficacy of vaccines used against agents of biological terror. NIH must also set aside $20 million for a new program of challenge grants to be funded by the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to promote joint ventures between NIH and the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries; the program is to be on a one-for-one matching basis to qualified organizations.
The National Center for Research Resources is slated to receive $75 million for extramural construction, an increase of $45 million over FY 1999. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is strongly urged to study the effects of dioxin and Agent Orange in Southeast Asia.
The bill contains a number of specific directions affecting OD:
The omnibus bill was signed after eight Continuing Resolutions kept unfunded federal agencies operating beyond the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. It keeps NIH on target for a congressional effort to double the NIH budget by 2004.
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