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CCTS Newsletter May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Whitney Lingafelter
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen
May 24, 2016

With a dwindling number of legislative days, Congress continues work to advance the annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2017. To date, neither chamber has taken action on an FY 2017 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) appropriations measure, which funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the bulk of federal clinical and translational research activities. However, the House and Senate have moved respective bills forward to fund the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Through the current appropriations measures, meaningful funding increases are put forward for the medical research programs at VA and DoD. 

Due to divisive policy issues unrelated to medical research, the LHHS appropriations measure id traditionally one of the last to move forward. Legislators continue to indicate that NIH will be treated favorably during the current appropriations cycle along with the research programs at VA and DoD. Congress will adjourn in July for a prolonged recess associated with the elections and we expect that an FY 2017 LHHS appropriations measure will be put forward before that time. Final action on all appropriations bills will likely wait until after the November elections. 

The administration continues working to assimilate stakeholder feedback in an effort to update the “Common Rule” for human research protections. In May, the [HHS] Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections convened for a public meeting and the update was a primary topic of conversation. An overview of comments was provided that concluded support for the proposal was split among many stakeholders groups and widely opposed by the academic research community. Common criticisms put forward by commenters were that the proposals was too broad and loosely constructed, and that it was difficult to provide meaningful feedback when specific tools, regulations, and standards were left as to-be-determined.