During last week’s House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), members of Congress, including Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), expressed concern with the Administration’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the skinny budget outline proposed in mid-March, the Administration recommended a $6 billion cut to NIH’s budget – a nearly 20% cut. Secretary Tom Price, MD, testified during the hearing, saying the proposed cuts to NIH were intended to address “indirect” costs that NIH pays to research institutions to cover costs such as lab equipment and utilities.
Members of Congress from both parties also came out against the proposed cuts to NIH during last week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on federally funded cancer research. During the hearing, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said, “I thought [the Administration’s] budget proposal for this category was pathetic and inadequate. We should be spending billions of dollars to solve this.”
Along with cuts in FY 2018, the White House proposed cutting nearly $1.2 billion from NIH in FY 2017.
ASCO continues to strongly oppose all proposed cuts to NIH and will continue to advocate for an increase in federal research funding. Members of ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) were on Capitol Hill last week to urge members of Congress to support strong, sustained funding for NIH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).