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.