Legislation to Fund NIH Moves Forward in Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported legislation that will fund the National Institutes of Health and other programs for Fiscal Year 2007 (which begins on October 1, 2006).

The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported legislation that will fund the National Institutes of Health and other programs for Fiscal Year 2007 (which begins on October 1, 2006). For NIH, the Committee would provide $28.5 billion, an increase of $220 million over the Fiscal Year 2006 appropriation, and $200 million over the President's budget request.

The bill, which funds programs for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, totaled $142.8 billion, $5 billion more than the President's request and $1.3 billion more than Fiscal Year 2006. In addition to the NIH figure, details include:

  • $304 million for health professions programs, $9 million over the President's request;

  • $2.139 billion for Ryan White AIDS programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $78 million more than last year;

  • $3,337 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), $77 million more than the budget request; and

  • Over $530 million for programs related to the American Competitiveness Initiative.

The efforts of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee's Chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Ranking Minority Member Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and others to obtain more funds for the Subcommittee during the budget process were largely unsuccessful. Budget language calling for additional funds to be allocated to health and education programs was adopted by the full Senate, but the funds were not subsequently mandated to be spent for that purpose.

While somewhat higher than amounts reported by the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate numbers are not high enough to save NIH from another tight budget year. If the Senate levels are adopted, most of NIH's 27 Institutes and Centers will receive minimal increases ranging from $600,000 to $1 million. Somewhat higher are the National Institute on Aging (with a $3 million increase); the National Cancer Institute (up $9 million); the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (up $4.5 million); the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (up $4 million); the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (up $4 million); and the National Center for Research Resources (up $6 million). The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would receive a $15.2 million increase directed mostly to bioterrorism and avian flu research programs.

The Office of the NIH Director, which includes the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, would receive $687.8 million, an increase of $120.6 million above the Fiscal Year 2006 level. The report accompanying the bill indicates that some of these funds are to continue the National Children's Study (NCS). See the SPIN story on the NCS for further information.

APA Science Policy staff worked with Senate appropriators to ensure that the report accompanying the Senate Appropriations bill highlighted a number of behavioral and social science research programs (see the Report Language SPIN story).

While both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have now acted on legislation to fund NIH, neither body has scheduled a floor vote on the bill. The House leadership has indicated that the Labor-HHS programs will almost certainly be funded through stopgap spending legislation until a lame-duck congressional session passes final legislation after the November elections.