In recent months, Congressional leadership and the Administration have been engaging in negotiations to secure a budget deal to raise the caps on defense and non-defense spending. If a deal is not reached, there are several possible scenarios, ranging from a government shutdown, to flat-funding under a temporary or year-long continuing resolution (CR), to more than $100 billion in cuts, either imposed across-the-board or allocated by Congress across federal agencies and programs. The prospects for a resolution that enables increased funding for science funding remain uncertain. Research!America and our partners are continuing to work on the #RaiseTheCaps advocacy campaign encouraging Congress and the Administration to forge a bipartisan agreement that lifts the budget caps.
While final funding levels hinge on a caps deal, the House has moved forward with Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations legislation. As of June 26, 2019, the House has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor/HHS), which includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) an almost $1 billion increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a $20.2 million increase for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) bill, which includes an increase of $540 million for the National Science Foundation (NSF); and the Agriculture and FDA legislation, which provides an increase of $180 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to start drafting its Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills.
Another advocacy issue Research!America is actively working on is the repeal of the medical device excise tax. The medical device tax will go back into effect in January 2020 if Congress does not act. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to repeal the tax.
The Research!America alliance is working on a host of other science and innovation-relevant issues, including working to prevent actions that undermine life-saving fetal tissue research; helping ensure the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) can continue its groundbreaking work to foster new, patient-centric research models, raising awareness regarding the importance of the landmark Bayh-Dole Act; and engaging in efforts to promote a responsible path forward as policymakers investigate illegal diversion of U.S. intellectual property.