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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 31, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 13
Trump wants to cut NIH funding
HIV/AIDS budget on the chopping block
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Trump wants to cut NIH funding
HIV/AIDS budget on the chopping block

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Trump administration wants to cut $1.23 billion from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) budget for the current fiscal year. Among the cuts proposed would be $300 million in funding for HIV/AIDS assistance worldwide.

The reduction is part of $18 billion in cuts that the administration wants in fiscal 2017, which ends in October.

Most of the proposed reductions at NIH would come from research grants, with $50 million specifically taken from a program meant to support biomedical research in states that typically get less agency money.

An international initiative to help people with HIV/AIDS, known as PEPFAR and heavily focused on patient treatment in Africa, would be slashed by almost $300 million under the Trump plan.

The savings would be found by slowing the rate of new patients put on treatment and reducing support to 'low-performing countries.' US states also face a $50 million cut that would target 'less effective HIV research and prevention activities.'

Because Congress never approved a full budget for fiscal 2017, the government is operating under short-term funding legislation that expires April 28.

Trump has already proposed cutting biomedical research at the NIH by $5.8 billion for the next fiscal year, putting 2018 investments in health research about 18% below 2017 levels.

The Office of Management and Budget called the change 'a major reorganization of NIH's institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.'

The Trump administration is requesting $65.1 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services in fiscal 2018, down from $84.6 billion in 2016.

Other proposed cuts for the current year include:



o $40 million from staffing funds at the Food and Drug Administration, achieved in part with 'slower than anticipated hiring.'

o $50 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which may delay missions and reduce grants.

o $350 million from research grants at the National Science Foundation for biology, information science and engineering.

o $372 million from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that helps people heat their homes.



Not all Republicans are enthusiastic about the proposed cuts, however. Asked if he thought the cuts proposed by Trump would be implemented, Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican who serves on the Appropriations Committee, said 'No, no.'

Washington Senator Patty Murray condemned the cuts and said they were 'absolute nonstarters for Democrats.'

'Republicans in Congress need to do the right thing and ignore this demand from President Trump to renege on our bipartisan agreement,' she added.

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