Senate Introduces Bill with $15.5 B in Emergency Funding for the NIH, Including $10 B for Research Relief

On July 27, the Senate began to release a series of bills within its $1 trillion Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act which includes $15.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for NIH, with $10.1 billion for “offsetting the costs related to reductions in lab productivity resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.”

The HEALS Act serves as the Senate’s fifth supplemental. Prior in May, the House passed its fifth supplemental, the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800), which provides $4.475 billion for NIH, with not less than $3 billion for research relief.  The Senate would need to pass the HEALS Act and conference it with the HEROES Act, which differs in top line spending and scope. However, this supplemental is the best short-term chance for research relief.     

On July 2, Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) held a hearing with NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, who stated that the NIH would need at least $10 billion for research relief. NAEVR joined with its coalition partners in urging researchers to contact their Senators to support at least $10 billion in research relief funding at the NIH.