Federal Legislative Update: Committee Vote Brings NIH Optimism

A Wednesday vote sparked hope among higher education advocates that Congress will choose to hold the line, or even increase funding for a key federal research arm.

The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee voted in favor of a plan to give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a $1.1 billion increase for Fiscal Year 2018.

The Trump administration had previously called for a 22 percent cut to NIH. The committee’s increase would instead put the NIH’s budget at $35.2 billion, approximately $8.6 billion above the president’s request.

Important for universities, the bill also includes a new provision requiring NIH to reimburse grantee research institutions for facilities and administrative costs. Please refer to Chancellor Gene Block’s letter on the matter, for the importance of that funding. The bill also prohibits HHS from capping reimbursements for those overhead costs.

As an example, NIH awarded $387.4 million to UCLA for research in Fiscal Year 2016. That money leads to advances ranging from treatments for cancer to neurodegenerative disease to cardiovascular disease to infant and child developmental challenges.

This is the first legislative step. The bill must still be debated on the floor before a full Congressional vote later this year. Take action and advocate for federal funding by visiting here.

Comments are closed.