Scientific research community, American Heart Association disappointed by spending bill
Funding for the National Institutes of Health were set at $29.9 billion for next year in a new appropriations spending bill that only partially restores cuts to scientific research.
The bill, unveiled Monday night, increases research funds by just $1 billion from where NIH funding levels stood in 2013, after sequestration, transfers and the re-programming of funds affected the agency. The levels left the research community dispirited.
“For months, the American Heart Association has been pressing federal lawmakers to reverse the enormously destructive sequester cuts imposed on the National Institutes of Health. We were disappointed to find out that the new omnibus budget bill does not fully restore these funds,” said American Heart Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D. “As a result, the treatments and cures many Americans so desperately need are likely to be delayed – perhaps indefinitely. These cuts have and will continue to pose a serious threat to the extraordinary progress we have made in the fight against heart disease and stroke. We strongly urge Congress to stop placing promising research at risk and increase federal support for the NIH.”
The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill provides $63 billion in sequestration relief over the next two years, but that money is split evenly between non-defense and defense accounts.
NIH director Francis S. Collins said last year that potentially groundbreaking projects could be dismantled or may never get off the ground if full funding wasn’t restored. The NIH calculated that the 5 percent cut it endured because of sequestration resulted in about 640 fewer competitive research project grants.
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