Complaints From Top NIH Scientist Preceded Rollback Of Lab Restrictions
Internal pushback highlights aftermath of 2015 scandal

Current National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins was the head of the agency when major safety issues were uncovered in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Complaints from a top scientist at the National Institutes of Health preceded at least a partial rollback of restrictions on the number of patients that could receive treatment in his lab, according to emails obtained by CQ Roll Call under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The facility in question was previously closed after an independent audit revealed black mold in the lab, among other major compliance issues. 

House ’Cures’ Package Could Hit Potholes in Senate
Questions over funding, disclosure of gifts to doctors

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley objects to a provision in the ‘Cures’ package and says he will object to an expected request for unanimous consent to take up the House bill in the Senate unless this provision is removed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An expansive plan to spur the development of new medical treatments that’s on the fast track in the House could encounter resistance on the other side of the Capitol over disclosure requirements and the way the legislation is funded.

Lawmakers late last week released an updated version of a long-stalled package known as the 21st Century Cures Act. While many provisions remain from the version the House passed last year, additions include language designed to improve the nation’s mental health system and $1 billion over two years to help combat misuse of prescription opioids.

NIH to Require Researchers Receiving Grants to Share Data
Part of a broader shift for biomedical field

NIH Director Francis Collins wants applicants for federal research funding to account for how data from a potential project will be publicly shared. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Institutes of Health will require applicants for federal research funding to submit a plan outlining how data gleaned from a potential project will be shared with the public, Director Francis Collins told CQ Roll Call. This move is part of a larger push from President Barack Obama’s administration to make information gathered from government-backed studies more public.

Academic research institutions and others have traditionally kept such data private. One of the more commonly cited justifications is the need to keep information proprietary in order to enhance their future applications with unique data and earn additional grants from the NIH. Collins said in an interview that notion is no longer accurate, and said the agency will begin to require applicants to all NIH centers to include a data-sharing strategy in grant proposals.

Zika Funding Compromise Proves Elusive So Far
But Democrats say a future deal for additional funds 'looks promising'

An environmental health worker in McAllen, Texas displays literature about the Zika virus distributed to the public. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Mosquitoes could bring to 30 U.S. states a disease that causes birth defects and neurological disorders. Yet the White House and congressional Republicans have been too busy talking past each other and lobbing rhetorical shots to do much about it.  

The battle over funds for a response to the Zika virus is, in many ways, a symbol of the Obama era. The White House and Republicans in Congress fundamentally misunderstand and distrust each other. Neither side appears willing to bend. It could fall to Democrats such as Sen. Patty Murray of Washington to broker a deal that adds emergency dollars to an unspecified appropriations bill.  

White House Seeks Emergency Funds to Fight Zika

The White House initiative would support research and diagnostics. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The Obama administration will ask Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus -- a disease the president says is a cause for concern but not panic.  

The White House announced the request to cover research and planning in the United States and abroad minutes after CBS aired an interview with President Barack Obama during which he said “there shouldn't be panic on this -- this is not something where people are going to die from.”  

Is Cancer Task Force Another Placebo?

Biden is heading up Obama's task force to fight cancer. The group will meet this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

History suggests the White House’s new high-level task force to fight cancer could prove more placebo than antidote, despite its broad bipartisan support.  

The same Republicans who sat dismissively as President Barack Obama ticked off a wish list of stalwart Democratic policy desires during his final State of the Union address joined Democrats in a standing ovation when he announced he was placing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in charge of a new task force charged with curing cancer in 10 years.  

On Cancer 'Moonshot,' Time is Ticking for Biden

Biden is driving Obama's campaign to cure cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden is widely seen as the engine behind the Obama administration’s “moonshot” anti-cancer push, raising questions about its fate once he leaves office next year.  

The White House on Thursday took the first tangible steps in its fight against cancer, formally establishing a task force first mentioned in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Biden, who will lead the task force, sounded at times bold and cautious.