FY 2016 Senate Appropriations Bill: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; NIH

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Publication date: 
10 August 2015

When House and Senate appropriators return from their summer recess a first order of business will be continuing their work on the FY 2016 appropriations bills.  Among those bills is the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill that provides funding for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).  The House and Senate NIBIB figures are as follows:

The FY 2015 appropriation was $330.2 million
The FY 2016 request is $337.3 million, an increase of $7.1 million or 2.2 percent
The House bill recommends $338.4 million, an increase of $8.2 million or 2.5 percent
The Senate bill recommends $344.3 million, an increase of $14.1 million or 4.3 percent

There was no report language in Senate Committee Report 114-74 regarding NIBIB. 

In the report’s introduction, on pages 8-9, the appropriators commented on the National Institutes of Health as follows:

“The Committee recommendation includes $32,084,000,000 for the National Institutes of Health [NIH], an increase of $2,000,000,000.  This is the largest increase the NIH has received since Congress doubled the agency’s funding in 2003. The Committee strongly believes that in this difficult budget environment that the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill must reprioritize how funding is allocated and must clearly recognize the essential role biomedical research plays in every American’s life. 

[The House bill provided $31,184,000,000, which is $100.0 million above the Obama Administration’s request.]  

“NIH-funded research has raised life expectancy, improved quality of life, and is an economic engine helping to sustain American competitiveness. NIH-funded biomedical research is the catalyst behind many of the advances that are now helping Americans live longer and healthier lives. Because of the Federal investment in biomedical research, U.S. cancer death rates are falling 1 percent each year, with each 1 percent decline saving our Nation about $500,000,000,000. U.S. death rates from heart disease and stroke have declined more than 60 percent in the last half-century.   Between 1997 and 2006, the death rate among adults with diabetes declined by 23 percent.

“The Committee recommendation places a high priority on funding for the NIH and believes this funding is necessary to address our Nation’s growing health concerns, spur medical innovation, sustain America’s competitiveness, and reduce healthcare costs.  Over the past decade, the NIH has lost approximately 22 percent of its purchasing power for research. The likelihood that a grant application will receive funding has fallen to the lowest percentage in decades, now less than 20 percent. However, under the Committee recommendation, these trends will begin to reverse. Within this bill, Research Project Grants, NIH’s funding mechanism for investigator-initiated research, will increase over 7 percent. The Committee recommendation is estimated to support over 11,500 new and competing grants in fiscal year 2016, an increase of nearly 2,500 grants or more than 26 percent above the fiscal year 2015 estimate.

“The Committee recommendation allocates funding to areas holding the most extraordinary promise of scientific advancement, while allowing NIH to maintain flexibility to pursue unplanned scientific opportunities and address unforeseen public health needs.”

There is extensive language in the report regarding NIH.  Language on the BRAIN Initiative can be found on page 9 of the report.  Page 81 has language regarding proton therapy.  In a section entitled Office of the Director on page 101, the appropriators commented on basic research as follows:

“The Committee urges the Director to continue the NIH’s historical focus on the funding and support of basic biomedical research. Basic biomedical research is a critical investment in the future health, wealth, and international competitiveness of our Nation and plays a vital role in the Nation’s economy. Without continued support for this early scientific investigation, future development of treatments and cures will be impossible. The Committee believes that basic biomedical research must remain a key component of both the intramural and extramural research portfolio at the NIH.”