Panel Urges MorePower for NIH Director,Reassessment ofNCI's Special Status Congress should strengthen the powers of the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and reconsider the special status and authority of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), according to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee that assessed the organization and management of NIH. The congressionally mandated study also recommended several mergers within NIH but did not endorse a major restructuring of the agency, as some critics had urged. The semi-independent status of the NCI has long been a sore point with some people within NIH. Under the National Cancer Act of 1971, the NCI director, unlike other institute and center directors, is appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Moreover, the NCI budget goes directly to the White House "Because the President appoints the NCI director and the NCI budget bypasses the NIH director, it is possible that an unnecessary rift is created between the goals, mission, and leadership of NIH and those of NCI," the committee said. Therefore, "Congress should reassess the provisions of the National Cancer Act of 1971, particularly as they affect the authority of the NIH director to hire senior management and plan and coordinate the NIH budget and its programs in their entirety."