Draft House bill to flat fund NIH at $30.6 billion

The House of Representatives released a draft spending bill this week that gives the National Institutes of Health a flat budget of $30.6 billion in 2013.

The budget matches the president's request, thought the number is $100 million lower than what Senate appropriators approved last month, according to Science Insider.

The Association of American Medical College is disappointed that the number is flat, thought it acknowledges that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had less overall money to work with than its Senate counterpart, according to David Moore, an AAMC representative.

The bill also gives $376 million to the Institutional Development Awards programs, increasing the current level by $100 million. The administration was looking to cut $51 million from the program in order to make more states competitive for NIH funding. The Senate bill, though, would keep funding level, Science Insider reports.

Additionally, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences would be funded at a flat $574 million, which is $64 million less than the president's request. The center's Cures Acceleration Network would receive the same amount as this year - $10 million.

Moore said that the AAMC is not happy with "prescriptive" language in the bill, including a stipulation that NIH support 16,670 training grants. Moore said that the agency needs more flexibility in tight fiscal times, according to Science Insider.

The AAMC is also concerned about the bill's proposal to cut the maximum salary that institutions can charge to NIH grants. Academic medical centers have already had to absorb a cut in the so-called salary cap after Congress passed such measures last year and the House figure is even lower.

Moore said that overall, "there's not a lot of good news in the bill," Science Insider reports.

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