Dr. Francis Collins will Continue to Head NIH

President Donald Trump has decided to retain Dr. Francis Collins as director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) until a permanent Director is appointed. The hold-over of Collins will provide some consistency to the agency during the uncertain budget period looming in 2017.

Congressional special spending authority will dictate science funding through April 28, 2017.

Federal science agencies in general will be barred from starting new programs or stopping old ones and from implementing funding increases submitted in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request. Unless Congress passes the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills, funding changes and program guidance included in the House and Senate versions of the bills will not carry their full weight either.

In the House Labor-HHS appropriations bill, NIH would receive a $2 billion funding increase, but that increase, and those proposed for any science agency or program, will require appropriations legislation.

The CR does include special spending authority, in three areas of importance to science: NIH research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellites, and NASA space exploration.

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