On September 29, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee released a draft spending bill, crafted by members of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS). Like the budget request President Obama put forward in February, the House subcommittee recommends funding NIH at $31.7 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 -- approximately $1 billion (3.3 %) more than the FY 2011 funding level and $1.2 billion over what the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved for FY 2012.
Beyond the numbers, there are several other important differences between the House and Senate funding recommendations. The Senate Committee approved funding for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) at $20 million. By contrast, the House draft instead provides up to $10 million for the NIH Director’s Discretionary Fund, stating that a portion of that may be used to establish a CAN Board tasked with providing future funding recommendations for CAN. Moreover, the Senate bill speaks explicitly to establishment of a new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH. The House bill does not – and continues to direct funding to the National Center for Research Resources, which NIH has stated it plans to eliminate in its reorganization to create NCATS.
As the process moves along, PAN continues to educate policymakers about the critical need to provide ample funding for NIH, with support for innovative initiatives such as CAN and NCATS which will move high-need medical cures through the development pipeline faster – giving hope to millions of patients and their families throughout the country. We will continue to keep you apprised of updates.