Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 LHHS Appropriations Bill with $2 Billion NIH Increase, $32.8 Million NEI Increase

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 LHHS Appropriations Bill with
$2 Billion NIH Increase, $32.8 Million NEI Increase

Legislative Update
June 9, 2016

On June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, which had been marked up and approved by the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee on June 7.

The bill, which was praised by both Republicans and Democrats as the first bipartisan bill to come out of the Subcommittee in seven years, provides $161.9 billion in base discretionary spending, which is $270 million below the FY2016 level and $2 billion below the President’s budget request.

The bill funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $34 billion, a $2 billion or 6.3 percent increase over FY2016. As stated by Subcommittee Chair Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Subcommittee wants to establish a pattern of five percent annual increases plus inflation, and committing to that approximate funding level in year two was necessary to the pattern. The bill would fund the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $740.8 million, a $32.8 million increase over its FY2016 Operational Net of $708 million.

NAEVR, which had requested FY2017 NIH funding of $34.5 billion and NEI funding of $770 million, commended the Senate leadership for making NIH funding a priority despite the lower allocation.

Regarding high-profile NIH projects, the bill provides the following:

  • $300 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, an increase of $100 million;
  • $1.39 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, an increase of $400 million;
  • $250 million, an increase of $100 million, for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies (BRAIN) Initiative to map the human brain;
  • $333.4 million, an increase of $12.5 million, for the Institutional Development Award;
  • $463 million, an increase of $50 million, to combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria; and
  • $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said in both markups, “I am especially proud that this bill doesn’t include a single new damaging policy rider.”

Once the bill’s Report Language is released, NAEVR will post additional details.

The House is expected to mark up its LHHS spending bill in the next few weeks. Since Congress has fewer than 30 legislative days to complete the FY2017 appropriations bills, it will likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) of some duration prior to its election recess to fund the government when FY2017 begins on October 1, 2016.