Budget compromise includes increase in research funding

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Budget negotiators in Washington have reached an agreement that should keep the federal government operating through the end of September.

And the news of what's included in that compromise comes as as a relief to leaders of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Instead of major cut in research funding, the budget deal actually includes an increase for the National Institutes of Health, the agency that funds a large portion of the research at the Roanoke institute.

When Senator Mark Warner visited the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute a couple of weeks ago, there was real concern that President's Trump's proposed budget would threaten research projects at institutions across the country and here in Roanoke.

"It would be a total disaster both locally and nationally to cut NIH funding," Warner told reporters.

But instead of a cut that could have resulted in the loss of jobs at the research institute, the news from Washington included a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health.

"If the United States government were to pull out that would have a dramatic effect not only on the health of the nation, but overall economy and the growth plan here in Roanoke," said Virginia Tech Carilion Research Center Executive Director Michael Friedlander. "So this is overall a good sign. We think it bodes well for the future of the community as well as the nation."

The budget compromise included funding for other programs that were threatened with cuts.

The deal includes money for the Appalachian Regional Commission, coal miners health care benefits, and community development block grants.

Those programs could face another challenge at the end of September, but for now their supporters are breathing a little easier.