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While Congress is in recess, House Republicans mull strategies to pass the remaining eight appropriations bills for fiscal 2018 once they return to D.C. in September. This plan would result in a complete omnibus bill totaling $1.1 trillion. This would likely include the Labor-HHS-Education bill that was approved by the appropriations committee in July. The bill provides an additional $1.1 billion to the National Institutes of Health over fiscal 2017 levels, totaling $35.2 billion. However, because the recently passed defense bills surpassed the budget caps, a continuing resolution may be required to pass a budget before the Oct. 1 deadline. A continuing resolution would impose fiscal 2017 numbers until a fiscal 2018 budget bill is passed. The Senate has yet to reveal its plan for its own fiscal 2018 budget, further complicating the budget process.
House to take up funding bill, then budget (The Hill)
According to a Republican Senate source, the Senate Budget Committee may not mark up its budget until October, pushing back the fiscal 2018 budget beyond the Oct. 1 deadline. This change in the timeline will most likely result in the passing of a continuing resolution, funding the federal government using fiscal 2017 budget levels. The House recently passed four of the 12 appropriations bills before the August recess and plans to pass the other eight once they return in September. Lack of a budget resolution in the Senate will delay the budget regardless of House action.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about a scam targeting NIH researchers. Scientists received phone calls telling them they had received a $14,000 NIH grant, but it is only accessible after payment through an iTunes or Green Dot card or their bank account. While the NIH indeed gives out grants, they would never ask for personal or financial information over the phone. Scientists must also apply for grants to receive them. The NIH provides a guide to avoid grant scams.
More than 950 scientists have signed a petition urging the NIH to reinstate the Grant Support Index. The petition states that the index would better support the biomedical research community. After scrapping the GSI proposal in June, the NIH launched the Next Generation Researcher Initiative to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Enterprise to address funding issues for early- and mid-career scientists.
Researchers Petition to Bring Back Grant Caps (The Scientist)