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NIH Salary Cap

Current Status

Section 203 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, (P.L. 112-74) reduces the limit on reimbursement for salaries on extramural awards funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to Executive Level II on the Federal Executive Pay Scale ($179,700 in 2012).

The president's FY 2013 budget proposes to retain the salary cap at Executive Level II.

AAMC Action

The AAMC supports the restoration of the salary cap to Executive Level I ($199,700 in 2012).

Administration Activity

On January 20, 2012, NIH posted a notice (NOT-OD-12-035) regarding the salary limitation on NIH awards.

The president's FY 2013 budget (Department of Health and Human Services, General Provisions, section 203), released on February 13, 2012, proposes to retain the salary cap at Executive Level II.


The FY 1990 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act instituted a prohibition on the use of NIH funds "to pay the salary of an individual, through a grant or other extramural mechanism, at a rate in excess of $120,000 per year."

Similar language has been included in each subsequent Labor-HHS-Education appropriation with the following modifications. The limit was increased in the FY 1992 appropriation to $125,000. The FY 1998 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act [P.L. 105-277] linked the maximum salary to the Executive Level III salary rate.

The final conference agreement on the FY 2000 Labor-HHS bill raised the NIH salary cap from Executive Level III to Executive Level II. The conference report (H. Rpt. 106-1033) accompanying the Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY 2001 [P.L. 106-554] increased the NIH salary cap to Executive Level I.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525

On Government Affairs

Testimony and Correspondence

External Resources