The White House released the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget proposals on February 9. Unfortunately, the President’s proposals for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) fell short of expectation and need, in large part due to the use of mandatory funding in lieu of standard appropriations. While mandatory dollars can play an important role by facilitating discreet, temporary funding priorities, this budget mechanism does not provide the certainty and continuity needed to enable federal research agencies to meet their respective missions.
The budget would provide $33.1 billion for NIH. After accounting for mandatory funding, this represents a $1.0 billion reduction in appropriations relative to FY16. Research!America is calling for a 10% overall increase in NIH, including at least $2.4 billion (approximately 5% after inflation is taken into account) increase in appropriated funds. The President’s budget provides $30 million in mandatory funding to CDC, but would reduce its annual program level appropriations by $194 million compared to FY16. Research!America is calling for a $620 million or 8.6% increase, totaling $7.8 billion in appropriated program level funding for FY17.
Research!America supports the President’s budget request of $364 million in base discretionary appropriations for AHRQ, a $30 million increase over FY16 appropriations. The President’s budget would provide annual appropriations of $2.7 billion to FDA in FY17. This funding is insufficient to meet the increasing demands on this crucial regulatory agency. Research!America is calling for at least $2.8 billion for FDA in FY17, an increase of $120 million over FY16. Finally, the President’s budget would provide $7.5 billion for NSF in FY17. Research!America is calling for $8 billion for NSF in FY17, which would be a $537 million or 7.2% increase over FY16 levels.
The Senate HELP Committee is continuing its work to advance individual pieces of legislation as a companion process to the House 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6). The Committee passed seven bills on February 9, and will consider another six bills on March 9, 2016. These bills cover such topics as medical devices, combination products, and health IT.