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The Future of NIH

A day ago I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Congressman John
Porter (R, IL) regarding NIH. Congressman Porter is Chair of the overall
House Appropriations Subcommittee and the Appropriations
Subcommittee with NIH oversight. In these roles he has been a
passionate supporter of NIH and he is the architect of the 5+% increase
in the NIH budget that is part of the approved House appropriation for
next year (to appreciate his views, you might look at the June 30, 1995
issue (vol 268) of Science and read his lead editorial). In our meeting
Congressman Porter explained that in the next 3 to 4 weeks the budget
will be decided probably on the basis of an almost unprecedented
conference between the leaders of Congress and the White House.
Congressman Porter is gravely concerned that the NIH might receive
some cuts at such a conference rather than the increase it must have.
Congressman Porter expressed the belief that this might be the year that
NIH is either sustained or forever reduced. Even a 5% increase places
the NIH under stress, any cuts will force the NIH to fundamentally
change the way in which it supports basic science, most likely ending
any significant extramural support for basic research. The key players
at this point in time are Congressman Gingrich, Senator Dole, and most
importantly President Clinton.

Congressman Gingrich can be contacted at FAX: 202-225-7733,
EMAIL: geogria@hr.house.gov; United States House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C. 20515; Senator Dole at FAX: 202-228-1245, United
States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; Senator Specter at FAX:
202-224-1893, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510 and
President Clinton at EMAIL: president@whitehouse.gov, White
House, 1700 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 20500.

Bill Yost