The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations yesterday approved its draft version of the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill. The bill would raise the U.S. government’s investment in Alzheimer’s research by $350 million, for a total of $1.26 billion in fiscal year 2017. The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a $400 million hike for research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias in its version of the bill last month (see Jun 2016 news). The House and Senate will debate their respective bills when Congress returns from recess in September.
Chairman of the LHHS Subcommittee Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and subcommittee ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sponsored the House legislation. It received strong support from Republican committee members, but Democrats opposed it because of the bill’s significant cuts to other programs, including the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The committee voted 31-19 to adopt the bill.
Amid cutbacks on spending for family planning, teen pregnancy prevention, and educational programs, the FY2017 LHHS bill proposes a $1.25 billion boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This would bring the NIH total budget to $33.3 billion, of which $1.26 billion would be earmarked for AD and dementia research. The bill would also raise the funds going to the Precision Medicine Initiative by $100 million and to the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative by $45 million (Feb 2013 news). These increases are similar to those proposed by the Senate, if slightly smaller.—Gwyneth Dickey Zakaib
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