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House Passes Minibus Spending Bill with NIH/NEI Increases

Legislative Update
June 20, 2019

On June 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2740, a $985 billion, four-bill [Defense, Energy and Water, State-Foreign Operations, and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS)] Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 spending package by a vote of 226-203. No Republicans voted for the measure, and seven Democrats voted against it. The spending package now moves to the Senate, which has yet to begin its work on individual FY2020 spending bills.

The LHHS bill within H.R. 2740 includes a $2 billion, or a 5.1 percent increase over FY2019, in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to a level of $41.08 billion, including the full $492 million in 21st Century Cures Act funding for special initiatives (BRAIN, Cancer Moonshot, Precision Medicine, and Regenerative Medicine). It also includes a $39 million, or a 5 percent increase over FY2019, in National Eye Institute (NEI) funding to a level of $835.5 million. The bill also maintains the Extramural Salary Cap at Executive Level II ($192,300 in FY2019).

Last week during consideration of amendments to the LHHS bill, the House approved an amendment led by Cong. Mark Pocan (D-WI) that prohibits any funds made available by the bill to convene an Ethics Advisory Board to review research grant applications or current research projects in the NIH's competitive renewal process (Extramural Research) that propose to use human fetal tissue. The amendment was developed in reaction to the Trump Administration's June 5 announcement of policy in which it bans the use of fetal tissue in NIH Intramural Research and subjects Extramural Research using fetal tissue to oversight by an Ethics Advisory Board. NAEVR and ARVO were signatories on a June 12 letter to Cong. Pocan and colleagues named on the amendment.

NAEVR has issued a statement commending House passage of the minibus.