House Passes Minibus FY2022 Spending Bill With NIH/NEI Funding Increases as Senate Stalls on Appropriations

On July 29 and before its recess, the House passed (along party lines) H.R. 4502, a seven-bill spending package led with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill that includes NIH funding at $49.4 billion. That includes the $3.5 billion increase in NIH base funding to $46.2 billion, $3 billion for the new Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-H) instead of the $6.5 billion proposed by President Biden, and an NEI funding increase of $41.4 million to $877 million. The LHHS bill removed the Hyde amendment (preventing federal funds from being used for abortions) – a major “policy rider” sticking point for Republicans that will need to be addressed before appropriations are finalized, in addition to the overall spending amounts and funding for defense versus domestic programs.

The Senate, which has been engaged in consideration of the $1 trillion infrastructure package and the potential $3.5 trillion health package reconciliation, has not yet adopted its top-line spending limit nor assigned allocations for its twelve spending bills, only reporting one bill out of Committee. Although it expects to mark up spending bills in September after recess, both chambers will need to come to agreement on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government in FY2022 when it begins on October 1, and rumor has it that Senate Majority Leader Schumer will attempt to include a debt limit increase in the must-pass CR.