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

Legislative Update
March 11, 2009

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. (H.R.1105), which was passed by the House on February 25. President Obama is expected to sign the bill today, which increases 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 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.

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 had funded them through March 6, 2009, then March 11, pending passage. FY2009 appropriations bills in Defense, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security were finalized by Congress on September 30, 2008.

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, which includes $8.2 billion for research, $175 million of which has been prorated to the NEI.

Between the FY2009 appropriations and economic stimulus funding, the NEI will receive nearly $200 million for research, absent additional funding that may be available through other sources within the $10.4 billion package (Office of the NIH Director "Challenge Grants," NIH Common Fund, extramural research facility repair/renovation/construction, and shared instrumentation).