Late Breaking News
NIH to Receive $10 Billion from Federal Stimulus Plan
- Categorized in: March 2009 Issue
WASHINGTON—Passage of President Obama’s economic stimulus package is welcome news for the National Institutes of Health, mainly due to the efforts of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. Due to Sen. Specter’s last-minute wrangling on Capitol Hill and his willingness to vote for a bill that most Republican legislators voted against, he was able to procure $10 billion for NIH. This is $6.5 billion over the House version of the bill and was added through an amendment crafted by Sen. Specter and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The money will be distributed to the agency’s institutes over the next two years.
Of the $10 billion, $1.5 billion is slated to go toward renovations at NIH, with the remaining $8.5 used to fund research. Sen. Specter, who survived two bouts with cancer, has been a fervent supporter of increased funding for disease research.
“Including funding for the NIH in the bill will provide needed economic stimulus, enable long-term economic growth and save lives,” Sen. Specter said prior to the plan’s approval. “The National Institutes of Health have been starved recently. This increase in funding will enable the National Institutes of Health to continue to produce remarkable achievements in scientiﬁ c advances.”
The NIH, like the rest of the federal government, has been operating under a continuing resolution since October 1 in lieu of an FY 2010 budget. In recent years, the NIH budget has been ﬂat-lined. Following a near doubling of the agency’s budget that took place between 1999 and 2004, NIH has been funded at around $28 billion. NIH institute directors, as well as former NIH director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., have testiﬁed before Congress that the ﬂat budget is tantamount to cutting the agency’s funding on a yearly basis when taking inﬂation, which is particularly high in the medical research arena, into consideration.