Congress Passes COVID-19 Stimulus Bill – Includes Science Funding

Friday afternoon, Congress passed, and the President has signed into law, an important bill intended to help rescue the U.S. economy which is suffering dramatically because of the national shutdown connected with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, with an overall price tag of $2 trillion, contains $1.2 billion in funds for COVID-19 related research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Six institutes within the NIH will receive funding increases for use regarding COVID-19. $103.4 million for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases is allocated $706 million, and $60 million goes to the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. In addition, $10 million is allocated to the National Library of Medicine, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences will receive $36 million, and $30 million is dedicated to programs within the NIH Office of the Director.

Along with funding for the NIH, the NSF will receive a total of $76 million, $75 million for research programs and $1 million in additional funds for administrative purposes. All these funds are in addition to the annual funding each agency receives. The funding for the NIH and NSF will be available to the agencies until 2024.

The stimulus bill also begins the process of looking forward to make sure this never happens again. $3.5 billion is provided to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to prepare for the development, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. $1.5 million is set aside for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to examine “the security of the United States medical supply chain.” Finally, the bill calls for the federal government to be involved in the construction, improvement, or renovation of non-federal facilities involved in the production of therapies, diagnostics, and vaccines.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: