Decisions on NIH funding postponed
With fiscal year 2009 funding set to expire at midnight on Sept. 30 and no agreement on FY2010 funding priorities, Congress adopted a stopgap continuing resolution to keep programs operating at existing levels until Oct. 31. The resolution gives Congress an additional thirty days to pass all twelve of the pending FY2010 appropriations bills, including the measure containing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Each chamber has already drafted its own version of the FY2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) Appropriations Bill, setting the stage for negotiations to occur between House and Senate members to reach common ground in a single spending bill that can be sent to the president.
One issue for negotiators will be a $500 million discrepancy in funding for the NIH. The Senate bill, which has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and still awaits approval by the full Senate, would increase the NIH budget by $442 million, 1.4 percent over the FY2009 level, bringing the total budget to $30.8 billion. This increase is equal to the president's budget request that was released in May, but $500 million below the level that the House of Representatives has approved.
Both chambers rejected President Obama's proposal to commence an eight-year effort to double funding for cancer research in FY2010. A report accompanying the Senate appropriations bill explained that targeting money at specific diseases would set a "dangerous precedent" by allowing politics to interfere with the professional expertise of the medical research community.
Read more from the October 2009 Edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: