Senate Approves Supplemental with $400 Million for NIH

Upon its Return Week of June 9, Congress to Consider Supplemental Appropriations Bill with $400 Million Additional Funding for NIH, as well as the FY2009 Budget Resolution Conference Agreement

Legislative Update
May 28, 2008

On May 22, prior to its recess, the Senate voted 75-22 to include domestic funding in the Supplemental Appropriations bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes $400 million in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $200 million for the National Science Foundation (NSF). During the recess, members of the House Congressional Research Caucus are urging their colleagues to follow the Senate’s lead to use the supplemental budget to boost research funding. Although the House is expected to take up this measure when Congress returns the week of June 9, the President has vowed to veto any legislation that exceeds his initial request that DID NOT include funding for these domestic programs.

Also during the week of June 9, the House and Senate are expected to take action on the conference agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Budget Resolution. This conference agreement contains $21 billion more for non-defense discretionary spending than requested by the President. Function 550 (Health, which includes NIH) receives $59.7 billion, which is $5.2 billion higher than the President’s budget. The health community was seeking $58.6 billion for Function 550. The Budget Resolution is a non-binding blueprint that lays out spending targets and will enable appropriators to begin markups on spending bills.

Due to the election year, the fate of FY2009 spending bills remains unknown, with most observers bracing for a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government starting October 1, 2008. Options include a full-year CR, as well as taking action on the spending bills individually or as one omnibus bill. In anticipation of delayed spending bills and their impact on research funding, Democratic leaders have used the Supplemental Appropriations bill as a vehicle to potentially ensure an increase in funding.