Montana congressman Denny Rehberg, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, recently sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling for a halt to the establishment of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He expressed concerns about how NCATS would impact existing programs such as Institutional Development Awards and Clinical and Translational Science Awards.
He also stated that no formal budget proposal for the request has been submitted by President Obama, and no answers have been provided to the questions that Rehberg posed in a March hearing. Noting that NIH has already begun a search for a NCATS director, he advised that NIH should “cease all action related to establishing NCATS until the President submits a formal request and congressional action is completed.” In April, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, made a presentation at the Clinical Research Foundation annual meeting, explaining how NCATS will work. View the slide presentation online.