House and Senate approve spending blueprints that indicate support for cancer research
With work on fiscal year (FY) 2009 appropriations and the economic stimulus package behind them, lawmakers are now focused on setting spending priorities for FY2010, which begins October 1.
Before adjourning on April 2 for a two-week recess, the House and Senate each adopted a budget blueprint for FY2010. The non-binding "budget resolution" divides spending totals into broad functional categories that will help frame the upcoming debate over appropriations.
Each chamber produced a document that closely resembled the budget outline released by President Obama in March, and each specifically mentioned support for his proposal to increase funding for cancer research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Senate Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13) was approved on April 2 by a vote of 55-43. The House passed its version (H. Con. Res. 85) on the same day by a vote of 233-196. Neither measure received any Republican support.
The two chambers will have until May 15 to resolve the differences between the two slightly different versions and produce a compromise through a process known as a conference.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, the House committee with specific jurisdiction over health research funding, held a hearing on March 26 to examine the NIH's implementation of the economic stimulus funding NIH received and the agency's needs in the FY2010 budget.
NIH Acting Director Raynard S. Kington testified on behalf of the NIH and assured the subcommittee that the agency is employing "a number of innovative strategies to quickly and wisely invest" the stimulus funds. Emphasizing the essential role that medical research plays in the economy, he expressed appreciation to the Congress for "the continued trust that you place in NIH to make the discoveries that will lead to better health for everyone."
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