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On Sept. 28, the U.S. House and Senate approved a short-term continuing resolution keeping the federal government funded through Dec. 9. It included $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funds. The bill was submitted to the White House, and President Obama signed it in to law Sept. 29.
Members of the scientific community are relieved to find a separate $1.1 billion dollar emergency Zika funding bill included in the short-term continuing resolution signed into law Sept. 28. While vital research can now continue leading toward a vaccine and potential cure, many in the community are still scratching their heads as to why it took more than 8 months to secure research funds. Despite the victory felt by many in the research community, we are reminded that, even with the additional funds, Zika vaccine development is still a long and laborious process.
Congress finally passes Zika funding bill (NBC News)
Why a Zika vaccine is a long way off (The Conversation)
With the upcoming elections approaching, many in the scientific community are being reminded that reshuffling of Congress could affect science significantly.
How Senate retirements could affect science (Scientific American)
During the lame-duck sessions after the elections, Congress will have a laundry list of health-care-related issues to negotiate, including the 21st Century Cures Act and cancer “moonshot” initiative. Recent negotiations for the 21st Century Cures Act have resulted in a trimmed down version of the original bill, reducing the National Institutes of Health appropriations to $4 billion from $8.75 billion, and the Food and Drug Administration appropriations to $300 million from $500 million. Scientific advocates and lawmakers consider passing of the 21st Century Cures bill to be top priority, with hope there will be bipartisan agreement prior to the end of the year.
Cures bill funding cut to $4B (The Hill)
Cures bill a ‘top priority’ in lame-duck (The Hill)