White House proposes $1.2B in immediate cuts to NIH for 2017: 3 things to know

The Trump administration has proposed a $1.2 billion budget cut to the National Institutes of Health to be enacted this fiscal year, according to a report from STAT.

The $1.2 billion proposed budget reduction for 2017 was made after the administration's proposeed budget cut for 2018, which would reduce NIH funding by $6 billion. The latter proposal was met with fierce opposition from opponents across the political spectrum and health industry.

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Here are three things to know about the most recently proposed funding cut to NIH.

1. The proposed budget cut would eliminate $50 million in funding for IDeA grants, which are used to help spread biomedical research geographically throughout the United States. The remainder of the $1.2 billion would incorporate broader cuts to the NIH's research grant funding.

2. HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, defended the proposed cuts to a House committee during a hearing on Wednesday, according to STAT.

"I was struck by one thing at NIH," Dr. Price said, according to STAT, "and that is that about 30 percent of the grant money that goes out is used for indirect expenses, which as you know means that that money goes for something other than the research that's being done."

During the hearing, Dr. Price argued reducing the amount of funds NIH allots universities to cover overhead costs like lab equipment would allow the agency to direct more funding to research.

3. "The president continues to put the health and well-being of Americans in danger to move forward a so-called 'hard power budget,' even while leaders from his own party view investments in biomedical research as critical to the nation's security," said the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in a statement regarding the proposed cuts.

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