July 27, 2017
The House Appropriations Committee reported favorably the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. The bill recommends funding for key agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the Department of Education. The bill, which passed the committee on July 19 on a party line vote, is now ready for floor consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.
Given tight budget caps and a lower overall allocation compared to FY 2017, the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee had less money to work with in its FY 2018 bill. Despite this fact, the bill recommends NIH receive $34.7 billion in base funding, a 2.8 percent increase over the agency’s FY 2017 funding level. Prior to subcommittee consideration of the bill on July 13, the Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee Tom Cole (R-OK) said he views this level as a “a floor, not as a ceiling for biomedical research funding,” fueling hopes that as the bill moves through the legislative process, NIH funding will increase.
In addition to the recommended base funding, the bill also designates an additional $496 million to be spent on specific projects authorized by 21st Century Cures Act. With this additional funding stream, NIH received a total of $35.2 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion above FY 2017.
The bill provides increases for every Institute and Center at NIH, including the Fogarty International Center, which the President had recommended folding. In addition, the bill provides increases for specific initiatives, including:
- $336 million for the BRAIN initiative (an increase of $76 million)
- $1.8 billion for Alzheimer’s (a $400 million increase)
- $400 million for “All of Us” Research Initiative ($80 million increase)
- $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot
NIH advocates were pleased that the bill contained language rejecting the Administration’s proposal to cap indirect or facilities and administration (F&A) payments and instructing NIH to continue following current F&A cost reimbursement guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget. Further, in a report accompanying the bill, the Subcommittee encourages the National Institute of Drug Abuse to continue its research on opioid misuse and addiction and praises the National Institute of Mental Health for supporting the NIH Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.
Other Health Agencies
In addition to the NIH, the bill provides $7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ($198 million below FY 2017) and $300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is $24 million below FY 2017. Although the President’s budget request included AHRQ as a new institute under NIH, the Appropriations Committee is continuing to fund AHRQ outside of NIH.
Institute for Education Sciences
The bill also included $605.3 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), flat funding for the research institute and flat funding for every line item within IES relative to the FY 2017 final appropriation. However, the Department of Education as a whole is funded at $66 billion, a cut of $2.4 billion over FY 2017.
The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet released its bill.
Link to House Report: https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/23920.pdf (see pages 186-188 for a budget table on NIH, and page 220 for a budget table pertaining to IES).