Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (West Virginia) unveiled a $100.3 billion economic recovery package.
Included in this bill would be a key healthcare provision:
$1.2 billion is included for the National Institutes of Health, $966 million is included to improve public health to cope with a potential pandemic flu outbreak or the use of a biological weapon, and $46 million is included for the Centers for Disease Control for combating infectious diseases and investigating disease clusters.
• National Institutes of Health (NIH). Even with the $150 million included in the first stimulus bill, NIH funding failed to keep up with biomedical inflation in FY08 for the fifth year in a row, a trend that has discouraged many young scientists from this field and puts the Nation at risk of losing a generation of talented investigators. The second stimulus includes $1.2 billion to restore some of the purchasing power of NIH that was lost because of inflation in the past five years and allow NIH to award at least 3,300 new research project grants that could lead to cures and treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and many other devastating diseases.
• Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The bill provides $46 million for the CDC for combating infectious diseases and investigating disease clusters.
• Bioterror Attack and Pandemic Flu Preparedness. The bill provides $905 million for the Public Health and Social Services (PHSSEF) to enhance the Nation’s preparedness against a bioterrorist event through the advanced development of priority medical countermeasures and activities that support the distribution and dispensing of medical countermeasures. This funding would also improve the Nation’s preparedness in the event of an influenza pandemic. In addition, $35 million is included for EPA and $27 million for the Department of Homeland Security to deploy additional sensors for biological agents.