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House appropriations subcommittee proposes increases to NIH budget for FY20

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May 1, 2019

The U.S. House appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies debated and amended an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020.  The bill includes funding for the National Institutes of Health.  If signed into law, the NIH will be appropriated at $41.1 billion, 4% above FY19.  The proposed bill also provides an increase in funding to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and National Cancer Institute of $3.03 billion, $2.31 billion, and $6.25 billion, respectively.

Institute (full bill text) FY19 enacted (billion) FY20 proposed (billion)
NIGMS $2.87 $3.03
(↑ $0.56 billion above President’s request)
NINDS $2.27 $2.31
(↑ $0.29 billion above President’s request)
NCI $6.14 $6.25
(↑ $1.01 billion above President’s request)
NHLBI $3.49 $3.66
(↑ $0.66 billion above President’s request)
NIAID $5.52 $5.81
(↑ $1.06 billion above President’s request)

The U.S. Senate will also introduce an appropriations bill that includes funding for the NIH in FY20.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has discussed a deal to address the spending caps with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump. If the Senate proposes funding levels that differ from those introduced by the House, both chambers will need to agree on final budget numbers. 

Funding levels proposed in the subcommittee’s bill come in direct contrast with Trump’s FY20 budget request. The president’s budget calls for a 15% decrease to the NIH’s budget, reducing the biomedical research agency by $6 billion below FY19 levels. This reduction in funding falls under spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, which legislates sharp cuts in domestic spending to reduce the national debt, currently at $22 trillion. If the U.S. Congress is unable to reach a budget deal to increase the spending caps for nondefense discretionary programs by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, an automatic budget reduction of 9% across all federal agencies will be imposed.

The NIH has received large increases in recent years, providing new investments towards disease-specific research and allowing the agency to increase the number of research grants that it supports. 

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has advocated for increases to the NIH’s budget and will continue to work with the community in support of the biomedical research funding agency.

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