House draft bill proposes NIH funding increase, cuts to Global Fund, no syringe exchange

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The House Appropriations Committee posted a draft bill today funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education programs.  The draft contains a $1 billion increase for biomedical research for a total of $31.7 billion at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but eliminates $300 million in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that has historically been appropriated through the NIH. 

Moreover, the House bill contains language that effectively prohibits federal funding of domestic syringe exchange programs – language similar to that contained in the House foreign assistance funding draft bill that would halt syringe exchange funding within the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program and other global health programs.

It is unclear whether the committee plans to formally vote on this bill, but these funding levels do set the stage for challenging negotiations between the House and the Senate in determining final funding levels for the 2012 fiscal year that begins this Saturday.  Currently, all federal programs are being funded at current levels under a so-called short-term Continuing Resolution.

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