Congressional Proposal Seeks to Limit Experimenting Powers of the NIH

House committee looks at transferring “gain of function” research authority to a “public, independent oversight entity.”

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have put forward a plan that would remove the power of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to review, approve or reject, and oversee experiments. The new process would establish a “public, independent oversight entity” to oversee risky pathogen research.

Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and House Health and Human Services appropriator Robert Aderholt of Alabama wrote, “Historical support for what an agency should or could be cannot prevent us from seeking to build upon past lessons or correct areas that have fallen short.”

Chair McMorris Rodgers also suggested a congressionally mandated review of the “NIH’s performance, mission, objectives, and programs” and term limits for the directors of federal health agencies and centers.

She stated, “Decades of nonstrategic and uncoordinated growth created a system ripe for stagnant leadership, research duplication, gaps, misconduct, and undue influence.”

The legislators would require such experiments to pause while new safety protocols and oversight are put in place. The health agency would have to cease conducting gain of function research and the grant approval process would include national security or intelligence reviews.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Chair McMorris Rodgers and members of the House committee as they seek to restrict the health agency’s autonomy in risky experimentation and research.
  • For the heads of federal health agencies to cooperate with the Legislative Branch on limitations to conducting potentially harmful science and lab experiments.

Sources: Axios, The Hill


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