House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Passes FY2018 Funding Bill, Including $1.1 Billion NIH Increase
July 14, 2017
Last evening, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee passed a draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 LHHS spending bill that totals $77.6 billion for HHS programs, a decrease of $542 million below the FY2017 enacted level and $14.5 billion above President Trumps budget request. With respect to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) it:
- Funds NIH at $35.2 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over the FY2017 enacted level of $34.1 billion, which is $8.6 billion above the Presidents FY2018 budget request that proposed an NIH cut of $7.2 billion, or 21 percent, from the FY2017 funding level.
- Maintains the Extramural Salary Cap at Executive Level (EL) II, which is $187,000, as opposed to the Presidents proposal to reduce it to the EL V level of $157,000.
- Includes a provision requiring the NIH to continue reimbursing grantee research institutions for Facilities and Administrative costs. The Presidents budget had proposed to limit these indirect costs to 10 percent.
- Retains the Fogarty International Center and cuts the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funding (that which supports the Affordable Care Act activities), unlike the Trump budget proposal which would have eliminated Fogarty and moved AHRQ into the NIH.
To put the NIH increase in perspective, of the $1.1 billion in increased NIH funding, $943 million is an increase in base NIH fundingor 2.8 percent, which is slightly above the FY2018 biomedical inflation rate of 2.7 percentand $144 million is an increase funding for the 21st Century Cures Act initiatives, raising it to the $496 million FY2018 funding level designated by the Act.
The bill provides increases for several critical research initiatives, including:
- $1.8 billion, a $400 million increase, for Alzheimers disease research;
- $336 million, a $76 million increase, for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative;
- $400 million, a $80 million increase, for the All of Us research initiative (formerly called the Precision Medicine Initiative);
- $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot;
- $10 million, an $8 million increase, for regenerative medicine research; and
- $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First pediatric cancer research initiative.
In her Opening Statement, Ranking Member Cong. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said that, The programs cannot provide increased opportunities if the LHHS bill is starved of funding. Although noting the NIH funding increase as a bright spot in the bill, she also recognized that the proposed 2.8 percent increase in base funding is about half the size of the increase in each of the past two fiscal years (6-plus percent each year).
Although NAEVR has issued a statement expressing appreciation for the NIH funding increase, the vision communitys FY2018 funding request has been a $2 billion NIH increase and NEI funding of $800 million.