If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Science Funding Surge Seen in Omnibus Spending Bill

Congress: NIH funding up $2 billion, R&D tax credit made permanent

by Andrea Widener
December 17, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 49

Credit: Shutterstock
U.S. Capitol
Credit: Shutterstock

A massive federal spending bill unveiled early Wednesday morning would provide increases for most U.S. science funding agencies in fiscal 2016, which began on Oct. 1.

The long-awaited agreement between congressional Republicans and Democrats would include a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, up to $32 billion in fiscal 2016. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science would receive $5.4 billion, up $279 million from 2015. The National Science Foundation would go up $119 million to $7.3 billion.

In an important development for the chemical enterprise, a tax reform plan that accompanies the bill would permanently enact the research and development tax credit for companies. The credit, which gives businesses a tax break for up to 20% of qualifying research expenses, was first passed in 1981. The credit is popular with chemical manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and other research-based industries. Congress has failed to make the tax credit permanent despite years of wrangling over whether to do so.

Another provision would restrict the Food & Drug Administration from approving drugs or biological products that come out of inheritable changes to human embryos. And a recently approved genetically modified salmon will not be able to be sold until FDA finalizes its labeling guidelines; its draft guidelines made labeling voluntary.

The bill also would hold the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget flat and keep the agency’s staffing levels below those last seen in 1989.

As C&EN went to press, the bill was scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on Friday with the Senate expected to weigh in soon afterward. Congress is scheduled for a holiday recess starting Friday.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.