Senate approves economic stimulus with a $10 billion increase for the NIH, set to begin negotiations with House of Representatives
Senate and House leadership continue working to push through a final economic stimulus package by mid-February.
Last week, the Senate brokered a deal on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) that allowed for a $10 billion investment in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project grants and both extramural and intramural construction projects, including $1.3 billion in the National Cancer Institute (NCI). An amendment offered by Senators Specter (R-PA), Harkin (D-IA) and Durbin (D-IL) was responsible for increasing the $3.5 billion initially included in the bill by $6.5 billion.
The Senate legislation was approved on Tuesday by a vote of 61 to 37. Senators Specter (R-PA), Snowe (R-ME) and Collins (R-ME) were the only republicans to break from their party and vote in favor of the plan. It will now advance to a conference committee comprised of members of both chambers to resolve differences between the Senate-approved plan and the legislation that the House of Representatives passed in late January.
The House bill contains a $1.5 billion increase for NIH research and an additional $2 billion for NIH construction, a significantly smaller investment than the legislation just approved by the Senate.
Once the conference committee reaches a compromise on the substance of one final package, the legislation will require a vote in both chambers before presenting to President Obama for his signature or veto. It is expected that the final passage of the compromise bill will occur near the end of this week.
Senators Inouye (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Reid (D-NV), Cochran (R-MS) and Grassley (R-IA) have been appointed as conferees to represent the Senate. House conferees are forthcoming.
- Read actor Patrick Swayze's op-ed published in Sunday's Washington Post. Swayze, who is battling pancreatic cancer, makes a powerful case for including maximum funding for the NIH in the economic stimulus package.
Read other articles from the February Edition of the Cancer Policy Monitor: