Monday, July 27, 2009

More on NIH funding

Here's another story about NIH funding from the American Thoracic Society's Washington Letter.

House Approves 2010 Health Spending Bill

On July 24, the House passed the FY 2010 health research and services spending bill, known as the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill. The House passed the bill by a margin of 264 to 153. The bill provides $30.966 billion for NIH, a 3.1 percent increase over FY 2009 and a 1 percent increase for the CDC.

The bill includes language requesting the CDC establish a program, including a public health action plan, on COPD, although funding has not yet been specified. The ATS is working with CDC's Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and members of Congress to ensure that a COPD public health program will be set up within the next year. The ATS was also successful in getting the following other agency directives included in the bill:
• Directive applauding NHLBI's sleep research and calling for more study to modify the link between sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease.
• Directive urging the NIAID to intensify research into new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to halt the spread of drug-resistant TB.
• Directive to CDC TB program grantees calling for minimal administrative costs to ensure adequate funding to all jurisdictions based on proportion and complexity of TB cases.

The House passed an amendment to the Labor-HHS bill offered by Rep. Issa (R-CA) to prohibit NIH from funding three peer-reviewed grants supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The grants are public health studies of behavioral factors involved in the transmission of HIV among sex workers and substance abuser populations in Thailand, China, and Russia. The ATS opposed this amendment in a letter to House Representatives on the basis of support for the NIH scientific peer-review process without interference from Congress.

The Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its version of the health spending bill this week. It is not yet known if an amendment similar to the Issa measure will be offered in the Senate bill, which would be necessary for it to be enacted into law.

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