WASHINGTON — The White House is proposing a $1.2 billion cut this year to the National Institutes of Health’s budget, targeting research grants.

The proposed NIH cut is part of $18 billion in spending reductions that President Trump’s team is proposing to Congress for the current fiscal year, which ends in October, according to a summary obtained by STAT.

Congress ultimately decides the federal government’s spending. Government funding is currently set to expire at the end of April; the White House is proposing these non-defense spending cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year.


The proposed cuts follow Trump’s earlier proposal to slash NIH funding by $6 billion in 2018. That plan was met with fierce resistance from both outside groups and many Republicans in Congress.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Several other news outlets have reported the $1.2 billion cut proposed for NIH.

According to the summary, the NIH cuts would wipe $50 million from funding for IDeA grants, which are intended to help spread biomedical research geographically across the United States. The rest, nearly $1.2 billion, would more broadly reduce research grant funding.

The Trump administration is also proposing a $314 million cut at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through reductions to occupational safety and public health preparedness grants, as well as domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs.

The mental health block grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would also be cut by $100 million under the White House proposal.

In a statement, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology harshly criticized the proposed cuts, saying the administration was “throwing progress out the window.”

“The president continues to put the health and well-being of Americans in danger to move forward a so-called ‘hard power budget,’ even while leaders from his own party view investments in biomedical research as critical to the nation’s security,” the group said.

Patrick White, director of the nonprofit Act for NIH, said he hoped to have the opportunity to brief the White House soon and emphasize the importance of funding for the agency. He said he’d explain to administration officials that medical research is not only critical to curing diseases but “creates high-tech, high-wage jobs.”

Sheila Kaplan contributed reporting.

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  • The government should not wholly fund the research. That being said, the companies who should be funding the research because they will benefit from new treatments should have a government review to ensure the research is not biased.

  • As a bipartisan voter, I totally disagree with cutting funds to the NIH. Many leaders are republican oppose the cutting of funding.

  • Recent research demonstrate that decades of basic research are commonly required for scientific discoveries to mature to the point that they generate successful products. We have examined the path by which discoveries in basic, biomedical science are translated into new drugs. The results show that the time from the initiation of new areas of research to the approval of new drugs using modern, targeted or biological technologies is typically 30 to 40 years. http://www.bentley.edu/prepared/new-study-demonstrates-importance-long-term-funding-cancer-research. These observations demonstrate the critical importance of long-term funding for basic research. Reducing support for basic research may delay drug discovery and development for decades to come.

  • If this is the case then NIH needs to seriously look into decreasing overhead rates to make up some of the funding rates for PIs. Similarly, they need to ensure that medical schools are investing in investigators.

  • Let’s assume NIH is really discovering treatments on those critical areas.
    Problem is that government is funding the research, then pharma companies are selling the drugs making huge profit. So it is government subsidy for private pharma industry.

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