Recently, the House Appropriations Committee approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (L-HHS) Appropriations Bill. The House bill and accompanying committee report reject many of the draconian funding cuts and troublesome policy proposals advanced in the administration’s FY 2018 budget request.
For example, the committee provides an increase of $1.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) rather than a $7 billion cut proposed by the administration; rejects the administration’s proposal to dramatically reduce indirect costs at NIH; and provides categorical funding for many chronic disease programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slated by the administration to be rolled into a block grant.
There are significant cuts to some programs contained in the bill, primarily as a result of a $5 billion reduction in the subcommittee’s overall allocation compared to FY 2017. The Senate is working off of higher budget allocations that are consistent with last year and, given this difference, is expected to produce more generous appropriations bills. The Senate has not yet scheduled a markup of its FY 2018 L-HHS Appropriations bill.
Of particular interest to the clinical land translational research community The House FY 2018 L-HHS appropriations bill proposes the following items of interest:
·$35.2 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.1 billion over FY 2017.
o$336 million for the BRAIN Initiative, a $76 million increase over FY 2017.
o$400 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative/All of Us, an $80 million increase over FY 2017.
o$300 million for the Cancer Moonshot, level-funded from FY 2017.
·$300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a decrease of $24 million from FY 2017 (the administration’s budget request sought to eliminate AHRQ).
·Institutional Development Awards.—The Committee has provided $373,641,000 for the IDeA program, $40,000,000 above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. IDeA supports high-quality research and investigators throughout the country in States in which the success rate for NIH grants has been historically low.
·Clinical and Translational Science Awards.—The Committee remains deeply concerned over the broad utilization of resources it specifically allocated for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) hubs and has provided NCATS with direct instructions regarding the number of awards. As investment in the CTSA program continues, NCATS is directed to ensure the level of support for CTSA institutions is maintained to appropriately reflect the additional resources provided by the Committee. Further, NCATS is directed to maintain the number of CTSA hubs at no fewer than 64 institutions.