House Passes Full-year FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution

House Passes Full-Year FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution

Legislative Update
January 31, 2007

Today, by a vote of 286-140, the House passed Joint Resolution (JR) 20 to fund a variety of government programs for the full 2007 Fiscal Year (FY). These programs are currently being funded under a Continuing Resolution which expires on February 15, 2007. The Senate is expected to take up this measure next week.

The JR, filed on January 29, passed with the support of 57 Republicans, including that of Cong. James Walsh (R-NY), Chair of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee. After the vote on the JR, Cong. Walsh offered introductory remarks at a NAEVR-sponsored Welcome Reception for the 110th Congress.

The JR proposes to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $620 million over the Fiscal Year 2006 “adjusted level” — or about a two percent increase – to a level of $28.92 billion. The majority of new funding ($483 million) is appropriated for the newly established common fund, per the recently enacted NIH Reform Act of 2006. Other major increases include $91 million in the Office of the NIH Director to support new investigators and $69 million for the National Children’s Study.

Although the Resolution DID NOT specifically increase most Institute and Center funding (including that for the National Eye Institute, NEI) above the FY2006 level, the NEI will net approximately $13.8 million for its programs in the FY2007 JR above the FY2007 President’s budget proposal (a two percent increase) – driven by fact that the FY06 funding level is $5.8 million more than what the President proposed for FY2007 and NEI will not have to make an $8 million Roadmap/common fund contribution, since that is now a direct appropriation. In addition to the $13.8 million in “programmable” dollars over the President’s FY2007 budget proposal, NEI and the vision community can also potentially benefit from funding through the newly established common fund and the expanded new investigator program.

The JR clearly demonstrated that the appropriators have implemented the various provisions of the NIH Reform Act of 2006 — except for the act’s authorized seven percent funding increase for FY2007 — in this unique funding legislation. To maintain the nexus between appropriations and the authorization, NAEVR is already advocating for FY2008 NEI funding at $711 million, or a 6.7 percent increase, in advance of the President’s FY2008 budget request, to issue on February 5. NAEVR is also advocating for timely FY2008 appropriations, such that the continuity of research is not jeopardized by delays in grant awards that require research entities to acquire philanthropic or “bridge funding” to fund research.