Government News
Congress on Way to Passing NIH Research Increase
Psychiatric News
Volume 37 Number 16 page 5-5

APA’s goal of having the government double the National Institutes of Health budget between 1998 and 2003 passed another legislative hurdle last month.

The Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee approved the Bush administration’s request to increase the NIH budget by $3.7 billion (approximately 15 percent) in Fiscal 2003. That brings the total NIH budget to $27.2 billion in Fiscal 2003, which is double the Fiscal 1998 spending level.

APA praised subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and ranking minority member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) for "their commitment to increased federal funding of biomedical and behavioral research at the NIH."

Harkin said in a press release, "Five years ago, Senator Specter and I set out to double funding for our nation’s finest medical research facilities. Today—without regard to administration or party—we have reached that goal, increasing our nation’s investment in the lifesaving research supported by NIH to $27.2 billion."

President George W. Bush proposed the approximately 15 percent increase for NIH in his Fiscal 2003 budget to Congress in February, but the percentage requested for some of the individual institutes was less (Psychiatric News, March 1). APA’s Academic Consortium supports the president’s NIH budget request, but urged Congress in March to give each mental health—related institute the same increase of 15 percent in Fiscal 2003.

"This is the first year that a president has not given all the institutes the same increase," said consortium cochair Lewis Judd, M.D. (Psychiatric News, April 16).

The Senate appropriations subcommittee instead approved the president’s budget request of a 9 percent increase for the National Institute on Drug Abuse ($80 million) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism ($34 million) in Fiscal 2003, according to Lizbet Boroughs, an associate director of APA’s Division of Government Relations.

The National Institute of Mental Health fared somewhat better in the dollar amount, with a budget increase of $103 million in Fiscal 2003. However, this represents only an 8 percent increase above last year’s funding level, according to Boroughs.

The Labor-HHS spending measure has to be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the full Senate. The House of Representatives is not likely to take up its companion spending measure until the fall, said Boroughs. ▪

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