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President Signs FY2017 Continuing Resolution, Which Funds Government Programs at the FY2016 Level Through April 2017

Legislative Update
December 7, 2016

Update
Late December 9, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Continuing Resolution (CR) by a vote of 63-36. The measure was later signed by President Obama.

Update
On December 8, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Continuting Resolution (CR) by a vote of 326-96. The measure now goes to the Senate for action.

Late December 6, the text of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Continuing Resolution (CR) was released by the House Appropriations Committee. The CR is needed to keep the government operating past December 9 when the current CR expires—that CR was passed in September to avoid a government shutdown on October 1 since final FY2017 appropriations bills had not been passed. The new bill would fund the government through April 28, 2017, placing the burden on the new 115th Congress to finalize FY2017 spending when it convenes next month.

The draft bill text would maintain the current budget cap of $1.07 trillion and continue the policy and funding provisions from the enacted FY2016 appropriations. It does not include controversial riders or major changes in existing federal policy. Also, the CR imposes a 0.19 percent across-the-board cut on the FY2016 funding level to meet Budget Control Act caps.

The bill includes $372 million in FY2017 funding for the 21st Century Cures Act, which comprises $352 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Innovation Fund account—which supports large-scale NIH initiatives—and $20 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Innovation account. The $352 million for NIH includes:

  • $40 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative;
  • $10 million for the BRAIN Initiative;
  • $300 million for cancer research; and
  • $2 million for clinical research to further the field of regenerative medicine (with the requirement of a $1 non-Federal match for every $1 of Federal funds).
The Senate is expected to pass the 21st Century Cures Act this week after the House passed it last week, which would clear it for the President’s signature.

The bill also provides $500 million for states to respond to the opioid epidemic.

Because of the limited time before the current CR expires on December 9, it is possible that Congress will need to pass a short-term CR to give Congress time to complete work on the longer-term CR.

In its Fall 2016 advocacy prior to the election, NAEVR urged Congress to keep the CR timeframe short and finalize FY2017 appropriations before year-end 2016, citing the detrimental impact of delayed appropriations on research funding (e.g. delayed awards and the need for bridge or philanthropic funding to maintain laboratories in the interim). As NAEVR has stated, vision research does not have a “Pause Button.”