The deal is done

Today, President Donald Trump signed into law an omnibus spending package funding the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The package, drafted by congressional leaders, largely rejected the president’s FY17 spending recommendations, which proposed a $1.2 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health and a $350 million cut to the National Science Foundation.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology criticized the president’s FY17 spending plan as well as his budget outline for FY18, saying, “The bottom line is that Trump’s budget is out of line with the needs of the nation’s biomedical researchers and out of line with the views of the citizens he serves.

The spending package signed by Trump today provides a $2 billion increase to the NIH for FY17 and a considerably more modest $9 million increase to the NSF.  Taking into consideration the funding levels in the House and Senate proposals, it seems the approved spending package is the best-case scenario our community could have hoped for.  (The House had proposed a $1.25 billion increase for the NIH and a $45 million increase for the NSF, while the Senate had proposed a $2 billion increase for NIH and a $57 million cut for the NSF.)

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told NBC that “funding medical research is something Republicans and Democrats agree on easily.

Worth noting: The funding bump is greater than that agreed to in the 21st Century Cures Act.

Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for the ASBMB, provided the following statement in response to the president’s proposal:

We are thankful that Congress fulfilled its commitment to the research community and for the robust funding provided to the National Institutes of Health and sustained funding for the National Science Foundation in the fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending package.

 Leaders in both the House and the Senate came together in a bipartisan manner to support the nation’s life science research community and are providing a $2 billion increase for the NIH – the first year-over-year increase of this magnitude in more than a decade. 

 This level of funding represents the best-case scenario we were hoping for.

 The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology thanks Congress for its support and for taking the necessary steps to ensure America remains a global leader in life science research and innovation.

This week’s budget agreement will save lives – and Americans from coast-to-coast should be encouraged that a deal like this could be reached.

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