WASHINGTON--The $1 billion cut that the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) had anticipated has been shelved for the time being.
The Senate voted 85 to 14 on a resolution by Sen. Mark Hatfield
(R-OR) to spare NIH from the need to make serious cuts in a wide
variety of programs and initiatives.
In a similar move, the House of Representatives passed a resolution
that would cut the NIH budget by only 5% and keep the budget frozen
through the year 2002.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Labor, HHS, and Education
Appropriations Subcommittee, devised a bipartisan strategy to
prevent drastic budget slashing for NIH. He requested that NIH
Director Harold Varmus and several institute directors provide
the subcommittee with strong written statements to describe NIH
NCI Acting Director Edward Sondik said that the proposed cuts
would cause great harm to the institute, especially in terms of
funding new grants and continuing work on the Human Genome Project.