Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Ideas for NIH Reform and 21st Century Cures 3.0 Due in August

On June 14, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) asked stakeholders to provide their input on reforming the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be more accountable, integrated, and agile; ensuring NIH funding mechanisms are clear and reflective of Congressional intent; and safeguarding NIH grants against national security risks and threats. 

Rodgers also, along with Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction over NIH, wrote an opinion piece in STAT news, “NIH Needs Reform and Restructuring, Key Republican Chairs Say.” Their reasons for reform included NIH approval of grants that conducted dangerous experiments and the lack of transparency at every state of various congressional inquiries. Rodgers and Aderholt ’s proposals include lowering the number of institutes and centers by combining them to reduce research duplication and potential misconduct. It has been nearly two decades since Congress evaluated NIH and advanced structural reform. Some stakeholders would like to see reform but with zero impact to the NIH budget. 

Research!America is attempting to lead the assembly of questions from stakeholders that they can bring to Capitol Hill staffers for clarification.

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) also requested input on the Next-Generation Cures bill or Cures 3.0. DeGette and former House member Fred Upton (R-MI) worked together to pass 21st Century Cures (Cures) in December 2016 under President Obama to accelerate scientific understanding, increase innovation, and bring new treatments to patients. Cures 2.0, also sponsored by DeGette, was partially enacted into law when the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health in this bill was created. DeGette and Bucshon’s desire is to create the framework for a Cures 3.0 that would build on 21st Century Cures and Cures 2.0 by enacting reform that further benefits the healthcare landscape. This includes any additional reforms needed to enhance the effectiveness of agencies such as NIH. FASEB will provide feedback for both requests for information.