WASHINGTONPresident Bush has asked Congress to
appropriate a budget of $23.112 billion for the National Institutes of Health
in fiscal year 2002, which begins Oct. 1. His request represents a $2.751
billion (13.5%) increase over the current fiscal year. The President also
requested a budget of $4.177 billion for the National Cancer Institute, an
increase of $439 million (11.7%).
"This proposed expansion for FY 2002 would be the largest
year-to-year dollar increase for NIH, and reflects a nearly 70% increase over
FY 1998," the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said of the
NIH budget request.
The Bush budget, if approved by Congress, would largely keep on
track the congressional effort to double the NIH budget over 5 years. Achieving
this goal, which began with the FY 1999 budget, would require an increase in
NIH appropriations of $4.1 billion (17.7%) in FY 2003, assuming that Congress
approves the amount requested for FY 2002.
However, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson raised a question about
how long the Bush Administration would continue to support large budget
increases for NIH. "Clearly, the American people don’t expect annual
budgets to be growing by double digits, for their family budgets certainly don’t
grow at that pace," he said.
HHS said the requested increase for NIH in the new budget would
be focused on four broad areas of research: genetic medicine, clinical
research, interdisciplinary research, and health disparities among the country’s
various minority, ethnic, and economic subpopulations. The budget request
includes $158 million for the recently established National Center on Minority
Health and Health Disparities.
The NIH budget request also includes a total of $2.5 billion
for AIDS-related research split among its institutes and centers. "This is
an increase of $258 million, or 11.5% over the FY 2001 level," HHS said.
The request represents a 56% increase in funding for AIDS-related research
since FY 1998.