President George W. Bush on Friday proposed boosting funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2.8 billion, the largest increase ever for the institutes devoted to medical and scientific research.
"We recognize the federal government plays a very important role in researching cures for disease and therefore our budget increases the NIH budget for (fiscal) 2002 by $2.8 billion, the largest increase in that department''s history," Bush told reporters as he chaired a meeting of his top budget advisers.
NIH, which funds academic research around the country through grants, has a budget for the current fiscal 2001 year, which ends on Sept. 30, of $20.3 billion, according to an NIH official.
Bush plans to propose a $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax cut in his budget while holding discretionary spending growth to around four percent. Given the increases he has already announced for the Defense and Education Departments, Bush will be forced to make cuts or trim spending growth elsewhere.
by Virginia Sutcliffe