News & Press: Advocacy News

CCTS Newsletter | August 19, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Whitney Lingafelter
Share |

CCTS Newsletter
Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen
August 19, 2016

Congress returns after Labor Day with the current federal fiscal (FY) year ending on September 30th. While legislators have made great progress on FY 2017 appropriations, they are not expected to enact any annual spending measures by the end of September. Alternatively, legislators will likely pass a Continuing Appropriations Resolution or “CR” that maintains the current funding levels. Congress has indicated a hold until after the November elections before taking any decisive action on the pending FY 2017 appropriations bills, including the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education measure, which includes annual funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal research programs.

As the political season continues, Congress will wrestle with how long the CR should be and when (if at all) the FY 2017 appropriations measures are passed. Hung up in this process is meaningful funding increases for NIH as well as individual clinical and translational research programs. Both the House and Senate have indicated their support for increased funding, with the Senate providing more generous allocations. The FY 2017 Senate L-HHS Appropriations Bill includes a $2 billion funding increase for NIH as well as meaningful increases for specific programs, such as CTSAs and IDeA (though the House allocation for IDeA is slightly greater). 

As members of Congress make local stops on the campaign trail, it is important that they continue to hear about the importance of finalizing FY 2017 appropriations and providing significant increases for clinical and translational research activities. Only with continued constituent pressure will there be a sense of urgency to complete appropriations at the end of the year. Moreover, if Members of Congress do not have the political will to take tough votes on federal spending before the current Congress adjourns in December, the pending funding increases and the scientific opportunity that comes along with it could be lost entirely.