Trump Aims to Take Immediate $1.2 Billion Bite Out of NIH Budget

Biomedical research goes under the knife

President Trump’s administration has proposed cutting $1.23 billion this fiscal year from research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to a report from Bloomberg Politics. The reduction is part of $18 billion in cuts that the administration wants in fiscal 2017, which ends in October.

Most of the proposed reductions at the NIH would come from research grants, with $50 million taken from a program meant to support biomedical research in states that typically get less agency money. It’s up to Congress to set spending levels, however, and many of the more-drastic measures proposed by the Trump administration are unlikely to become law, the Bloomberg article notes.

Asked if there was a chance the cuts would be implemented, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican who serves on the Appropriations Committee, said “No. No.”

A worldwide initiative to help people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), known as PEPFAR, would be slashed by almost $300 million under the plan. States would also face a $50 million cut that would target “less-effective HIV research and prevention activities.”

Other proposed health cuts for the current year include $40 million from staffing funds at the FDA, achieved in part with “slower than anticipated hiring.”

Trump has already proposed cutting biomedical research at the NIH by $5.8 billion next fiscal year, or approximately 18% below 2017 levels.

Source: Bloomberg; March 28, 2017.