U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Fund Health and Education Agencies for Fiscal Year 2019
September 20, 2018
On September 18, by a vote of 93-7, the United States Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations conference report before the start of the fiscal year—a feat not achieved since 2007! The bill funds the National Institutes of Health and other health agencies, as well as the Institute for Education Sciences within the Department of Education. The measure, H.R. 6137, which also includes funding for the Department of Defense, provides:
- $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a $2 billion increase over FY 2018;
- $615.5 million for the Institute of Education Sciences, a $2 million increase over FY 2018; and,
- $338 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a $4 million increase over FY 2018.
The bill also includes a short-term continuing resolution to keep the rest of the federal government open until December 7 and to prevent a government shutdown when FY 2018 ends on September 30.
In addition to funding, the measure includes report language clarifying congressional spending priorities and interests. Some report highlights include:
- A provision directing the Institute of Education Sciences to spend up to $6 million for grants to support “activities to improve data coordination, quality and use at the local, State and national levels.”
- A transfer of $5 million to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) to support increased oversight of NIH’s grant programs, especially as it relates to protecting intellectual property.
- $500 million in dedicated funding for research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke “related to opioid addiction, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment.”
- An additional $29 million to support the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative;
- An additional $425 million to support Alzheimer’s disease research as well as language encouraging more research into the Frontotemporal Degeneration; and,
- A report from the NIH Director that “includes a portfolio analysis of current funding levels for mental health and substance use disorder, and (2) identifies the process by which the NIH set funding priorities for mental health and substance use disorder programs, including how NIH takes into account newly developed public health needs, disease burden, emerging scientific opportunities, and scientific progress.”
The House is expected to vote on the bill when it returns the week of September 24. If the House passes the bill, and the President signs it, it will be the first time in 22 years since the Labor/HHS bill was signed into law before the end of the fiscal year!