In Washington, the National Institutes of Health is special. But is it super special?
That is, will the research agency's unique bipartisan appeal inside the Beltway produce both an agreement to avoid looming cuts to the agency under a deficit-reduction law and show the way to broader deficit deal? At least one member of Congress who sits on an influential committee thinks it can.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Thursday that bipartisan efforts under way to avoid cuts to the relatively tiny NIH budget could “build the foundation” for an agreement replacing many of the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Providers are among the multitude watching discussions to replace the so-called sequester, as it requires Medicare to cut $11.1 billion from their reimbursements next year.