Democratic Congress Could Mean More Money and More Oversight for NIH

Since 2003, Bush and the Republican-led Congress have cut funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by 12%. But, Joe Finkelstein writes, “the NIH will have friends in high places when Democrats take over control the House and Senate…but how generous lawmakers can be is unclear with tight budgets curbing spending for the near future. From the latest issue of the JNCI:

After a 5-year period when the budget doubled, funding for the institutes has foundered for the past few years under a Republican-controlled Congress. What small increases the NIH has seen have been largely wiped out by government-wide budget cuts and the rising cost of research. When the 110th Congress convenes in January, the new Democratic leadership is expected to shift the legislative agenda and funding priorities. They are also expected to take up NIH reauthorization legislation, which would bump up the budget goals and probably include provisions designed to encourage cross-institute collaboration.

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