Congress on Saturday sent a Continuing Resolution (CR) to the President for his signature. This bill will keep the Government running until March 2009. The total cost of the bill, which was approved by a 78 – 12 vote in the Senate, has a price tag of $634 billion.
A CR was needed due to the fact not one of the twelve annual spending bills was passed this year, which caused both the White House and Congress to point fingers at each other.
During debate on Saturday, Senators Reid (D-NV) and Byrd (D-WV) offered a $56 billion economic stimulus package as an amendment to the CR. This package would have included an additional $1.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal Year 2009. Unfortunately, the vote fell short (52-42) of the sixty votes needed to move the package forward, ending efforts to increase funding for the NIH and NCI.
So what does this mean for cancer? Federal investment into cancer research will remain at the FY 2008 levels. Funding trends over the past five years for cancer research and control are beginning to jeopardize the progress that is being made. After accounting for biomedical inflation, NCI’s budget has decreased by more than 16.5 percent since FY 2003.