Update: Congress has approved the NIH increase. It’s official!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be getting a $2 billion (6.6 percent) increase in the final “Omnibus” Appropriations Bill, bringing their total funding level up to $32 billion. This is the largest increase since 2003.

For the last several years, the NIH budget has either been cut or largely flat, so this is a huge win for the patient advocacy community. This was the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s top legislative priority this year and our advocates are to be congratulated for all of their hard work on securing this significant accomplishment.

In addition, we are very pleased to announce that Congress has also agreed to our ask to provide $50 million for the Department of Defense’s cancer research program and will once again include pancreatic cancer as one of the 13 types of cancer that are eligible for funding under the program.

A few things to note:

  • Instead of passing smaller packages of funding for specific federal departments, which is the “textbook” process, Congress lumped funding for most federal programs into a single bill, or “omnibus”. They have used an omnibus to fund most federal programs for the last several years, so this isn’t a new process.
  • NCI will receive a $264 million (5.3 percent) increase, bringing them up to a total funding level of $5.2 billion.
  • The bill is expected to be approved by the House on Friday, Dec. 18, and by the Senate soon after. Both chambers will leave for the Holiday Recess immediately after the votes.