No Sympathy for Biomedical Research in Omnibus Bill

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The omnibus budget deal approved by House and Senate appropriations committees last week only partially restores biomedical research funds cut by the sequestration.

Us Capitol Building

The omnibus appropriations bill sets funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $29.9 billion for next year. That’s $1 billion above fiscal year 2013 levels, but doesn’t restore it to pre-sequester spending levels.

Sequestration reduced the NIH budget by more than $1.5 billion, from $30.86 billion in 2012 to $29.15 billion in 2013.

In 2012, President Obama called for sustained investment in research. However, the congressional approved budget held NIH funding to 2012 levels. Thus, 2014 will be the 11th year in a row that the NIH budget has failed to keep pace with inflation.

A summary from the Senate Appropriations Committee states:

This amount [$1 billion increase] should allow the NIH to continue all current research programs and begin approximately 385 additional research studies and trials.

The bill also includes new funding for President Obama’s ambitious project to map brain activity. In addition, the bill includes funding for a new initiative to study ways to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Summary

About the Author

Jenny Jessen is a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.