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President Signs '02 Budget for NIH

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NIH will get nearly $3 billion more in fiscal year 2002 than it did in 2001, thanks to an appropriation bill signed by President Bush on Jan. 11. House and Senate conferees approved a $23.285 billion budget for '02 (14.7 percent above '01), but the final program level settled at $22.888 billion (14.4 percent increase) after $100 million was taken out for a global AIDS/malaria/tuberculosis fund, and other taps. The increase marks the fourth payment on an effort, begun in 1998, to double the NIH budget within 5 years.

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The budget bill emerged after eight continuing resolutions (CRs) had kept the agency funded — at the '01 level — since the beginning of the '02 fiscal year last fall. That's well short of the record 21 CRs required before NIH got its 2001 appropriation, said Anne Houser of NIH's legislative office. She added that the '02 bill "is the first since FY 1998 for a Labor, HHS, Education appropriation — other recent years have been omnibus bills including many other appropriations bills."

The largest individual appropriations among the institutes and centers went to NCI ($4.19 billion), NHLBI ($2.576 billion) and NIAID ($2.37 billion). The buildings and facilities budget — the real foundation beneath all those construction towers seen on campus — is just under $310 million, but $75 million of that is to be transferred to the global AIDS fund. The B&F appropriation also includes $26 million for the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, and "full scope language" for first and second phases of the center's construction.

NIH's newest institute, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, gets $112 million.

The appropriation bill, public law 107-116, also includes these particulars:

NCRR gets $110 million for extramural facilities construction grants, including a $5 million earmark for a chimpanzee sanctuary, and $272 million is provided for General Clinical Research Centers; the NIH director retains the authority to transfer 1 percent of the budget for emerging needs; the bill retains identical human embryo language from the FY 2001 Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill; the Office of the Director receives $235.5 million, of which $53.5 million goes to the Office of AIDS Research, $10.3 million is for the Office of Rare Diseases, and $17 million for the Office of Dietary Supplements. OD also gets funds to buy 29 new passenger cars, for replacement of an aging fleet.

With respect to bioterrorism, a separate appropriation from the Department of Defense provides $2.5 billion to the HHS Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, of which $85 million is for bioterrorism-related research and development at NIAID, $70 million for construction of biosafety laboratories at NIAID, and $71 million for improving laboratory security at NIH and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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