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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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NIH Gets $2.5 Billion Raise
18 December 2000 7:00 pm
The U.S. Congress approved a 14.2% increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on 15 December. The record $20.3 billion budget for 2001 keeps the agency on track to double its budget by 2003. The vote overcame last-minute opposition from fiscal conservatives and upheld a funding deal lawmakers had sealed on 29 October over a bottle of wine.
NIH's raise was part of a $450 billion spending package that rolled together the last three of the 13 annual appropriations bills that make up the federal government's $1.8 trillion budget for the 2001 fiscal year, which began 1 October. Disagreements over education, workplace safety, and immigration issues had pushed the final agreement beyond election day, forcing Congress to pass a near-record 20 temporary funding bills to sustain operations. Its 15 December adjournment ended the longest congressional session since 1982.
The last few weeks were especially torturous for many biomedical research advocates, who feared that lawmakers might scrap a pact--dubbed "the Merlot agreement" after the bottle of wine opened to seal the deal--to increase NIH's budget by 15%, to $20.5 billion. That amount topped the Administration's request by $1.7 billion. House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) led the charge, announcing that House conservatives would oppose the final bills unless the total amount they contained was significantly reduced. He suggested a freeze at existing levels pending a new budget from President-elect George W. Bush.
All of NIH's 24 institutes will share in the wealth. The budget of the National Cancer Institute, NIH's largest, will grow 13.5% to $3.76 billion, while the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute retains second place with an identical boost, to $2.3 billion. Other major institutes and centers received increases of between 13.5% and 16.6%. The fledgling institute on complementary and alternative medicine will grow the fastest, with a 29.3% boost to $89 million, while a center on minority health and health disparities will start life with $130 million.
In the end, budget negotiators agreed to sustain NIH's increase at near-Merlot levels. "It's a wonderful outcome ... when you think of everything we've been worried about over the last several weeks," says Mary Hendrix, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.