WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion funding boost over the next five months, under a bipartisan spending deal reached late Sunday night in Congress. The agreement marks a sharp rejection of President Trump’s proposal to cut $1.2 billion from the medical research agency in the current fiscal year.

The deal does not address funding for 2018, when Trump has called for a slashing the NIH’s budget by about a fifth, or $5.8 billion.

But it sends a clear signal that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle prioritize funding for medical research and intend to honor the agreements laid out in the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill that called for raising NIH funding and speeding approvals of new drugs and medical devices. This will be the second year running that Congress gives a $2 billion funding bump to the agency, which funds medical research across the country.


“The omnibus is in sharp contrast to President Trump’s dangerous plans to steal billions from lifesaving medical research, instead increasing funding for the NIH by $2 billion,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

The roughly $1 trillion spending agreement, which funds the government through the end of September, also more than quadruples funds to fight opioid addiction. That money — about $800 million total, up from $150 million in the last budget — will be divided among opioid addiction programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

In addition, the plan permanently extends a health insurance program for coal miners, which had been on the brink of shutting down. It preserves federal funding for Planned Parenthood, for now, though Republicans are still expected to push hard to eliminate that in the 2018 budget.

And in a victory for Democrats, Puerto Rico’s health commissioner announced on her Facebook page that the budget includes $295 million to shore up the territory’s Medicaid program, which should help avert cuts that could have resulted in major coverage losses.

The NIH funding hike includes an extra $400 million to research Alzheimer’s disease and an additional $476 million for the National Cancer Institute. And it boosts spending on two of former President Barack Obama’s big science projects: the Precision Medicine Initiative, which will get an increase of $120 million as it seeks to recruit volunteers for genetic testing and health tracking; and the BRAIN Initiative, which will get an extra $110 million to support work mapping the human brain.

The spending agreement is a firm repudiation of the Trump administration’s vision of a much leaner federal research program.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had suggested at a congressional hearing that the NIH budget could be cut significantly without harming medical research by reducing grants for “indirect costs” — the federal dollars that help research universities pay for utility bills, heating costs, pricey equipment, and other expenses that support their biomedical labs. University administrators, who make up a powerful lobbying group, did not take kindly to that suggestion.

And from the moment Trump proposed such steep cuts, Republicans have joined Democrats in rejecting them.

The Republican members who chair the health appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate — Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri and Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, respectively — have been steadfast in their support for NIH funding. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has likewise advocated for research spending, especially as he helped shepherd the 21st Century Cures Act into law.

The agreement lives up to Cole’s word from March, when he told STAT that Trump was unreasonable in requesting a $1.2 billion NIH cut within a budget Congress had largely negotiated before the 2016 presidential election. As he put it then: “Not going to happen.”

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  • Let’s not forget about WHY he probably wanted to slash a bit off of the NIH, which has been investigated by congress for mishandling their money, look up all the articles out there about these ridiculous research studies they do that don’t amount to much. Here.


    • Do you have ANY other sources than Breitbart (or your Facebook friends)…? Wouldn’t hurt to actually get some real information on that matter.

  • I am so happy to know money has been allocated for these horrific diseases. I do my best making donations for research in the fight against Alzheimer’s and various cancers,as well as Parkinsons,MS, Autisim ,etc. . If
    Everyone contributed Just one dollar to these diseases,I know a treatment,cure can be found!

  • There is some much spin on his Trump hit piece that I am suprised you don’t fall of your chairs and land on your ignorant asses. A clear example of “fake news”.

  • Thanks be to God, that there are still some sensible representatives of the people, who know and understand what science is about. Or, maybe they are just running scared that if they do not support these agencies, we the voters will not support them. Either way, its looking better than what Trump dreamed up. He really doesn’t understand the needs of people, or what would happen in the future, if his nonsense goes through.

  • This is not “a sharp rebuke” to the president. This is called compromise, something that Congress has been unwilling or unable to do for the last eight years. It is called governing, it is called getting the job done. I don’t appreciate the hyper partisan tone your article takes – the we win, you lose mentality has got to stop.

    • Can you blame people for speaking against the Republican party, whose government leadership has spoken out so vividly about science? Again, we should praise them when they do it right.

    • You have to be a special kind of stupid to not understand how a President demanding $1.2 billion in cuts to an agency, only for Congress (controlled by his own party) putting in a $2 billion boost, is a rebuke of the President.

      I guess in your mind the only way the President can be rebuked is if Paul Ryan walks over to the White House and smacks Trump in the face.

    • I agree – the “we win/you lose,” “us vs. them” mentality does need to stop – maybe we can start with discontinuing the “I won the election/you are just a sore loser” rhetoric at rallies – or better yet, realize that you are president for all Americans, not just those who cheer your every word. Stop the exclusive rallies and talk to the American people, not a gathering of your fan club. That is the “hyper-partisanism” here. Like it or not, being the President means you are the biggest servant in the country, not the most powerful monarch. Forget the electoral college/popular vote, crowd size, tax return, golf playing minutia – just talk to us all. Bomb Syria? Fine, where is the special report address to the nation letting us know what happened, why, and where we stand (not preemptively, because we all know you don’t want to give away secrets). Its not that it would be a good idea to inform the people, it is your duty! And for the love of America, stop with the ill-informed trolling tweets! Be honorable, be tactful, be Presidential. Realize the Office of the Presidency is what is sacred – you are fortunate enough and blessed enough to have the privilege of serving as that Office’s spokesperson.

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