Congress Races to Advance CR and Keep Government Open

Capitol Hill Update | September 22, 2022

Members of Congress continue negotiations to iron out the details of an agreement to keep the federal government open after the September 30th end of the current fiscal year (FY) 22. As has become the norm, they are currently working on a continuing resolution (CR) to provide flat funding to federal agencies and programs, expected to last until December 16th, following the November election. This means that federal agencies supporting our disciplines – IES, NIH, NSF, and ARPA-H, and other critical science agencies – will be held in limbo awaiting a budget for FY 23 (see our science funding dashboard here). Despite the near certainty of a CR – expected through mid-December – FABBS joins our sister societies in sending a letter to Congress to explain the inefficiency and inadequacy of CR and encourage them to complete FY23 appropriations.

Trusting that Congress will, at some point, return to the FY 23 appropriations process, advocacy coalitions that support federal research agencies are reiterating their ‘asks’ for FY 23. FABBS joined a letter in support of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The letter thanks Members of the House and Senate Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee for their proposed funding of NCHS at the $190.4M level in FY23. The additional funds could be used for work with electronic health records; expanded data collections and real time surveys; new data sources and data science techniques; data linkage; and expansion of the vital statistics program. Other science coalitions will be sharing similar letters once the CR is signed.

Many Members of Congress are trying to advance bills in hopes of crossing the finish line before this Congress adjourns and a new one begins in January 2023. One piece of legislation of interest to some FABBS researchers is the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (H.R. 8454). This bipartisan, bicameral legislation addresses the current obstacles scientists face to understanding the potential effects of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) use for patients facing brain diseases and disorders (see previous FABBS coverage).  The bill would enable researchers to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess these substances for the purposes of research. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives and has been received in the Senate. FABBS joined this community sign-on letter to Senate leadership encouraging passage of the bill. The letter was led by the American Brain Coalition (ABC); FABBS sits on their advocacy committee.