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So it looks like Mr. and Mrs. Biotech’s recent efforts in Washington may have borne some fruit. As things stand now, scientists are among the winners in the federal stimulus package that lawmakers are racing to finish.

The $838 billion Senate bill includes $17.8 billion for science research and development, $5.6 billion more than the House bill, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hat tips to FierceBioResearcher and The Chronicle of Higher Education for a heads up on the analysis.

However, the analysis does not indicate whether the Senate bill includes the so-called “biotech bailout” that the industry has been pushing for. The provision would give small, research-based companies that lost money last year government cash now in the place of future tax credits. It was not included in the House bill, and, as I wrote in my Mr. and Mrs. Biotech story, industry lobbyists were not optimistic that it would make it into the Senate version. I put out some calls to nail that down.

And it is of course important to keep in mind that things could change further as House and Senate leaders work to reconcile the differences between the bills. The Associated Press is reporting now that the price tag of the package is down to $789 billion.

DAVID WASHBURN

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