Accelerating Biomedical Research Act Introduced in House and Senate

On January 26, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Brian Higgins (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) reintroduced the bipartisan Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (H.R. 531).The bill “would allow Congress to restore the purchasing power of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s funding to what it would have been if it had kept up with inflation since 2003.” It would create a new Budget Control Act cap adjustment for the agency. Any funding provided in excess of $29.4 billion would trigger a budget cap increase to accommodate the additional funding provided. The measure would allow appropriators to increase NIH funding by ten percent for the first two years and about six percent each year thereafter through 2021. DeLauro, who is the Ranking Member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee emphasized that, “Work supported by the NIH has saved the lives of countless Americans. Failure to invest in health research and disease prevention results in huge costs to our health, society, economy and knowledge itself. Whether it is cancer, Ebola, or the flu, the benefits of medical research are obvious. Congress must stop forcing the NIH to do more with less.”

On January 29, Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Senate companion bill, Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (S. 318). Mikulski described S. 318 as “a bill to prioritize funding for the National Institutes of Health to discover treatments and cures, to maintain global leadership in medical innovation, and to restore the purchasing power the NIH had after the historic doubling campaign that ended in fiscal year 2003.” Introducing the bill, Milkulski explained that the NIH budget has not kept up with inflation and that the funding currently “buys 20 percent less than what it did when the doubling was completed in 2003.”

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