NIH Likely to See Funding Boost Again This Year

June 29, 2018

On June 28, the full U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved almost unanimously its version of the Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. The bill funds several federal agencies important to FABBS members, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

While the Senate bill proposes generous increases for the NIH, other agencies were largely flat funded or received minor increases—an outcome attributable to the low overall funding allocations that the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee received.

National Institutes of Health

The Senate bill provides NIH with $39.1 billion, an increase of $2 billion, or 5.4 percent, above FY 2018. The bill also proposes a $425 million increase in funding for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research.  Further, the bill recommends $500 million for research on opioid addiction, development of opioids alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment and increased spending levels to every NIH Institute and Center. At press time, specific funding levels were not available, but a media release from Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) confirms the committee’s intent to boost funding for all NIH ICs in FY 2019.

In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee, among other things, calls for agencies funded by the bill to enhance coordination of activities related to childhood trauma, promotes the NIH Trans-NIH Pediatric Research Consortium, calls on NIMH to conduct more research on suicide prevention and encourages NINDS to continue supporting the BRAIN initiative.

Institute of Education Sciences

The Senate bill includes $615.5 million for IES in FY 2019. This reflects flat funding for all accounts with the exception of National Assessment of Educational Progress, which received a $2 million increase.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The bill provides CDC with $7.9 billion, $2.4 billion above the Administration’s request. The amount includes an additional $12 million to support a maternal mortality surveillance initiative and $10 million to support public health emergency preparedness.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The Committee provides AHRQ with $334 million and rejects the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the agency within NIH.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider its version of the same bill after Congress returns from its Fourth of July recess. Both chambers are tentatively expected to move their bills to the House and Senate floors as part of a strategy that will involve pairing the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill with one or more other appropriations bills.