APS E-News | Advocacy Update Report | July 2018
NIH Appropriations Expected to Increase
While most of us have been preoccupied with opioid-related legislation, the House and Senate appropriations processes are slowly chugging forward, and NIH appears to be well funded in fiscal year 2019.
“The Senate will surpass the House’s proposal to increase medical research spending $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2019," a key appropriator told Bloomberg Law. “I think we’re going to feel good about our number on Thursday and, yes, you can expect it to be a little bit higher than the House number,” Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) said after a June 20 event on Capitol Hill to celebrate medical research funding. Blunt is the chairman of the Senate panel that oversees discretionary health dollars.
If enacted, a 2019 increase would mark the fourth consecutive boost for NIH. Coupled with the 2016 enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act, these increases—$7 billion in the past 3 years—indicate a clear priority to find biomedical solutions to public health crises like the opioid epidemic as well as bring down rapidly rising healthcare costs.
NIH’s funding is currently $37.3 billion, after lawmakers approved a $3 billion increase for fiscal 2018 in March. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on June 14 unveiled its spending plan for fiscal year 2019, which proposed to top that number by another $1.25 billion as part of a $177.1 billion Labor-Health and Human Services spending plan.