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CCTS Newsletter | November 9, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Blake Goodman
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen
November 9, 2016

One item that was already certain before the first vote was cast in the November election was that big changes would be coming to Capitol Hill. Retirements and self-imposed term limits by lawmakers indicated notable turnover on key congressional committees for the next Congress. The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States will also likely lead to shake-ups within the administration. The next president is expected to bring in their own leadership for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which now will likely set a different course and identify new priorities. While medical research was not a major topic during the campaign, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare in a more general sense were prioritized as areas for change.

Although Republicans retained control of the House and Senate, the Appropriations Committees, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and the House Energy & Commerce Committee will have new members in the next Congress. Most notably, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) is rotating out of his leadership position as well as the Chairman of the House Labor-HHHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK). Ultimately, significant turnover should take place when Committee assignments are announced early next year.

Historically, a drastic change in administrations can influence legislating during the end-of-the-year lame duck session. Presently, annual appropriations are pending before Congress, which include a meaningful funding increases for NIH, as well as the “Cures/Innovation” package with additional research resources. Neither the incoming administration nor congressional leadership has commented on pending legislative items and the fate of funding increases for medical research remain in limbo at this time.