News & Press: Advocacy News

CCTS Post-Election Lame Duck Session Memorandum

Monday, November 7, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Blake Goodman
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TO:     Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science

FR:     Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

RE:     Post-Election Lame Duck Session      

While most of the national focus has been on the election, the existing set of policy-makers will return to Washington next week for a lame duck session, hoping to finish off the 114th Congress by passing a federal spending package and enacting meaningful legislation aimed at improving medical research opportunities and reducing regulatory burden on the innovators of medical treatments.

Only one of the twelve annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2017 have been signed into law—the Department of Veterans Affairs appropriations measure. Other agencies of the federal government, such as NIH and DOD, are operating at flat funding levels under a stop-gap continuing resolution until December 9th. Lawmakers hope to roll the remaining eleven appropriations bills into an omnibus appropriations package and enact this legislation before the end of the calendar year. Successful enactment of an omnibus package before the end of the year will likely yield the pending increases for agencies like NIH. Further delay—or another stop-gap measure that lasts into the next calendar year-would create uncertainty and increase the likelihood of a full-year, flat-funded, continuing resolution for the agencies and programs supported by the eleven pending bills.

Also high on the priority list for the lame duck session is enactment of the “21st Century Cures” or “Innovations” package. This pending legislation would provide new resources at NIH to invest in research that focuses on improving treatments and finding cures, and also would give FDA new authority to streamline the regulatory process and encourage investment in the development of treatments for challenging medical conditions.

The plan to finish off the FY 2017 appropriations process and finalize the “Cures” effort could be derailed by the outcome of the election. Big changes would likely cause a reassessment of the existing plan. We will continue to keep you updated as this process unfolds.