A $2 trillion bill passed by Congress on Wednesday night would expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the largest level in its history.
The bill passed on a vote of 205-192, with all Democrats in the House and no Republicans in the Senate.
President Donald Trump has promised to repeal the bill, but many experts say the government’s health system is not ready to handle the massive influx of patients.
The $2.5 trillion bill would provide nearly $1 trillion for the NIH, which supports research into new treatments, diagnostics and treatments.
The NIH has a budget of $2 billion.
It is responsible for overseeing most research programs and conducting most medical testing.
It also provides grants for grants that would be awarded to hospitals and research institutes.
“The National Institutes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are in dire need of new funding to make sure the United States remains the leader in scientific advancement and health care access, especially among those who need the most,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).
“This bill will ensure that we will be able to ensure the nation’s research efforts continue uninterrupted.
It will also provide new resources to the NIH to fund vital health and scientific research.”
Trump has said he wants to keep NIH funding for research focused on disease prevention and treatment.
“This is a critical time for the nation, for the science, and for the country,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The measure would provide the NIH with $7.4 billion in FY 2018 for “recovers and other assistance to States and localities” for “further research, development, testing, and evaluation of novel drugs.”
Pascrel’s bill would also provide $2 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a government office that deals with drug policy.
Pascsell’s bill has support from a wide range of medical, health care and other experts, including former president Bill Clinton, who said he would like to see the bill passed.
“If we can get that money to the states, to the cities, the counties and the towns, we’ll make a big difference,” he told The Hill in June.
“We’ll have a better shot at curing this epidemic.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bill’s prospects.
“A reauthorization of the NIH is a very important first step,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday.
“It will also be a very useful tool in the fight against diseases like COVID-19, to be able not only to pay for research and development, but also to pay hospitals and labs, and it will give us more resources for the CDC.”