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 goals.
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.