Two House Democrats introduced legislation on Monday that would make funding for the National Institutes of Health no longer subject to the annual congressional budget process.
The bill would make the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) medical research funding a non-discretionary program, meaning it wouldn't be part of debates over the federal discretionary spending budget every year. That would make NIH funding treated in the same way as programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Democratic Reps. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorFacebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Democrats seize on 'alarm bell' climate report in spending plan push Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Cities a surprise refuge for wildlife MORE (Fla.) and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill House Democrats push to introduce John Lewis voting rights bill within weeks Black Caucus presses Democratic leaders to expedite action on voting rights MORE (N.C.) said the measure would remove NIH from threats of shutdowns and spending cuts.
"Today, funding for medical research is discretionary and at the mercy of the budget battles in Congress. This harms momentum towards cures and creates economic uncertainty," Castor said.
"Funding for medical research is too essential to be subjected to political squabbles," Butterfield added.
NIH funding peaked in 2010 at $31.2 billion. But it fell to $30.6 billion in 2014 as part of a bipartisan spending agreement.
- Rebecca Shabad contributed.