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House Posts FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill with Nearly $1 Billion Increase for NIH and $21.4 Million Increase for NEI Over FY2008 Funding

Legislative Update
February 24, 2009

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee posted on its Web site the conference agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The bill would increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding over FY2008 by $937.5 million to $30.3 billion, or a 3.2 percent increase, and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $21.4 million to $688.5 million, or a 3.2 percent increase.

The Omnibus Appropriations bill includes nine funding bills which have not already been finalized—these government programs have been operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that has funded them through March 6, 2009. FY2009 appropriations bills in Defense, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security were finalized by Congress on September 30, 2008. The House is expected to take up this measure this week.

The FY2009 NIH funding increase reflects a mid-way point between House and Senate bills developed in 2008 that proposed to include increases that at least matched the biomedical inflation rate of 3.5 percent.

If passed, the NIH increase comes on the heels of the $10.4 billion in economic stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1), which was signed by President Obama on February 17. NIH must use those funds by September 2010.