Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on 2019 NIH Budget
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) hosted leadership from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to testify on the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. NIH Director Francis Collins, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Director Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow all testified. Senators from both parties praised NIH for its accomplishments, further solidifying its position as a bipartisan priority. Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and other members of the subcommittee expressed concern with the $2 billion cut recommended in the President’s FY 2019 budget request, especially in contrast to the $3 billion increase NIH received from Congress in the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill. Committee members questioned witnesses on NIH activities related to the opioid epidemic, a universal flu vaccine, immunotherapy, the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a recent scandal at NIH regarding an alcohol industry-financed study of the health affects of alcohol. Written statements from Blunt and Collins, along with a recording of the hearing can be found on the committee’s website. COSSA’s coverage of FY 2019 funding is available here.