A House of Representatives spending panel today approved a $942 million raise for the National Institutes of Health that would bring its 2010 budget to $31.3 billion. That 3.1% boost is roughly double what President Barack Obama had requested. According to Representative David Obey (D–WI), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, the new money would be spread equally across NIH's 27 institutes and centers. (Details of the spending bill are not yet available.)
The president's request included a 5% increase for cancer research across NIH, including a 3.6% boost for the National Cancer Institute. The labor, health and human services, education subcommittee "reject[ed] the Administration’s targeted funding approach and ensur[ed] that all institutes and centers receive funding to offset biomedical research inflation," Obey's press release says.
Biomedical research groups welcomed the panel's decision, the first step in a long budget process. "We've very happy. We're pleased to see that not only is it more than the president requested, but that he [Obey] has no intention to allocate money by specific disease," said Carrie Wolinetz, spokesperson for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. FASEB has been told that the bill also rejects an extra $19 million for autism research that the president requested.