Last week Senators Arlen Spector (R-Pa.) and Tom Harkins (D-Iowa) introduced legislation to provide an additional $5.2 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal Year 2009. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for further consideration.

According to Sen. Harkin, "It is vital for the Congress to support our scientists as they search for treatments and cures that could provide hope to millions of Americans and I am proud to work with Sen. Spector to continue our efforts toward this goal."

Senators Spector and Harkin introduced the legislation in response to the budget shortfalls NIH is experiencing currently. President Bush in his FY 2009 budget requested $29.229 billion for NIH, a decrease of $150 from FY 2008. The Senate in late June approved a FY 2009 budget request for an $875 million increase in NIH funding. The budget and proposed increase are not enough to restore the NIH’s budget to previous levels and to account for inflation.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine will keep members abreast of developments on this legislation.