Science policy news weekly update: July 14, 2017

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This week, the House Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee released a draft fiscal 2018 spending bill, which included a $1.1 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health. This increase would result in a 3 percent increase to the NIH’s budget for FY18, raising the total budget to $35.2 billion. Included in this bill are a $400 million increase to Alzheimer’s disease research, $76 million increase to the BRAIN initiative, $80 million increase for the All of Us research initiative (formerly Precision Medicine Initiative), and $300 million increase to the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Importantly, the bill also will require the NIH to continue reimbursing universities for overhead costs. Both the funding increase and the continuation of overhead cost reimbursement fly directly in the face of the Trump administration’s previously released funding proposal. President Donald Trump previously asked for an $8.6 billion cut to the NIH’s budget in 2018, which would have been largely achieved by reducing how much the agency was allowed to reimburse institutions for indirect costs. Members of the scientific community should view the House’s draft legislation as a step in the right direction for the FY18 budget process, while waiting for the corresponding Senate subcommittee to release its version of this bill.

US lawmakers seek $1.1-billion boost for the NIH (Nature)

House bill gives NIH 3% raise, blocks cuts to overhead payments (Science)

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