WASHINGTON — With a week left in the current fiscal year, Senate Republicans are still debating the funding bill for the National Institute of Health, but the majority leader has decided to let that discussion go.
It will now be up to the Senate to determine if the $4.5 billion increase to the N.I.H. is a good or bad idea, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday.
The Senate is currently debating a bill to provide additional funding for the Niantic Science Institute.
It has been referred to the Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a Republican.
McConnell has ruled out the House’s version of the bill, which would allocate $5 billion more in funding.
The House has yet to release its version.
McConnell said the NIMH would be funded “through the end of the year,” with $4 billion of that going to the Institute of Medicine, and $3 billion going to NIA.
But that does not include the $5.5 million the Senate would have to allocate to pay for other NIA programs, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
In a letter to Senate Republicans last week, the House of Representatives’ health committee chairman, Lamar Smith of Texas, suggested that the House might consider the House bill, and that if they did, the Senate might be forced to approve the House-passed bill.
Smith’s request for additional funding comes as the House and Senate work on a new version of a short-term spending bill, after both chambers passed their versions last month.
Democrats, who control the Senate, are working to make it clear that they would not support any spending bill that did not include a $5-billion increase for the NIH.
Senate Democrats have not taken a position on the House version of their short-year spending bill.
Republicans are planning to send it to the House on Monday for a vote, and Democrats have expressed interest in voting for it.
If the House passes the House House-authored version of its short-time spending bill before the Senate votes on the Senate-authored bill, it would then be sent to the White House for its consideration.
With the House, Senate and White House working on a short time-limited spending bill and the White Senate preparing to release a short bill that includes the NIA funding, Democrats have been trying to move the Senate back to its original position on funding the NI.
While the House is not expected to pass its own version of an appropriations bill this week, Senate Democrats are already preparing to vote on their own version.
Senate Republicans on Monday were expected to include the House budget in a separate spending bill to be voted on Tuesday.