President Trump is expected to sign an FY17 omnibus appropriations bill by May 5 that provides $1.7 billion in new budget authority for NIH and reaffirms the availability of an additional $300 million in targeted 21st Century Cures funds for NIH. CDC will receive a cut of about $13 million; FDA will receive an increase of $30 million; NSF will receive an increase of $10 million; and AHRQ will receive a cut of $10 million.
Next, members of Congress will turn their attention to FY18 appropriations. Unless there is another deal to increase discretionary spending beyond the level allowed by the “sequestration” budget caps (the last deal covered FY16 and FY17 only), the caps on non-defense discretionary spending (NDD) will be $3 billion lower in FY18 than in FY17.
The President has not yet sent a detailed budget proposal to Congress, but his “skinny budget” specified a $5.8 billion cut in NIH, accomplished via cuts to indirect costs, the elimination of the Fogarty International Center, and other consolidation/reorganization of the Institutes and Centers. The President’s skinny budget also proposed the consolidation of AHRQ into NIH. It is unclear how Congress will respond to these proposed changes or the funding levels assumed in the President’s budget (the caps were modified to permit an additional $54 billion in defense spending and a corresponding reduction in non-defense spending).
On Thursday, May 4, the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with legislation that, among its fundamental changes, would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) and repeal the medical device excise tax. The Senate has not indicated when it might take up the bill, which is not expected to pass that body in its current form.
In regulatory news, the Senate HELP Committee voted to confirm Dr. Scott Gottlieb for the role of FDA Commissioner. The full Senate has not yet considered Dr. Gottlieb’s nomination, but it is expected that he will be confirmed.
On April 13, we held a well-attended Alliance Member meeting/call with federal budget expert, David Reich. We have issued several new and updated advocacy materials, including new fact sheets providing a snapshot of medical and health research on a state-by-state basis, updated fact sheets on pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), and osteoporosis & hip fractures, and a new fact sheet on opioid and other substance use disorders.