Sometimes Congress Can Rock!

Thank you, Congress.  When President Trump released his first draft of his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, the budget proposal included deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  He shifted the spending to defense and border security and away from science, medicine and research.

The good news is that Congress has not only rejected the president’s N.I.H. proposal; lawmakers from both parties have joined forces, in an uncommon bipartisan move to increase spending on biomedical research. 

To be clear, Mr. Trump had proposed to cut funds for the NIH by $7.5 billion, or 22 percent, to $26.6 billion.  Congress pushed back hard.  In answer to his request, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that provides $36.1 billion for the NIH.  If passed, this increase would be the third consecutive year in which there is a $2 billion increase for the agency, amounting to an increase of about 20 percent over three years.

In a rare show of emotions, the audience at the meeting erupted in applause when Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, announced the increase.

Although also proposing an increase, the House Appropriations Committee, was less generous than the Senate, it still approved a $1.1 billion increase for the health research agency.

Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol said they expected the final figure to be close to the higher amount in the Senate bill.

Thank you, members of Congress, and thank you to all the advocates who have put pressure on Congress.  Mr. Trump’s proposal would have caused a massive disruption in important research, delayed the development of new medications and treatments and encouraged to the continuing decline in providing necessary medical care to every American.

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and Appendiceal Cancer a rare cancer.