Senate Releases FY2022 LHHS Bill with NIH/NEI Funding Increases

On October 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee Democrats released nine of the remaining Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills and reports, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill. The bill provides $47.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $4.99 billion or 11.6 percent over the FY2021 funding level of $42.93 billion. With this investment, the bill will provide a 58 percent increase over the past seven fiscal years.  

The bill includes $2.4 billion for the President’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H) through September 30, 2024, and as in the House bill, states that funds shall only be made available if legislation specifically establishing ARPA-H is enacted into law. The remaining $2.59 billion of the increase would fund NIH’s base budget, which would increase to $45.52 billion, or a six percent increase over the FY2021 level of $42.93 billion.

In comparison, the House-passed FY2022 LHHS spending bill funds the NIH at $49 billion, with ARPA-H funded at $3 billion and the NIH base at $46.434 billion, a $3.5 billion or 8.2 percent increase over the FY2021 level of $42.93 billion.

The Senate bill also funds the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $857.9 million, a $22.16 million or 2.65 percent increase over the FY2021 level of $835.71 million. This funding level is just slightly over the current biomedical inflation rate of 2.4 percent, meaning that there is minimal growth. As stated by NAEVR in its June 17 written testimony to the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee, NEI’s purchasing power in FY2021 is less than that in FY2012 due to past flat funding and less-than-inflation increases.

In comparison, the House bill funds the NEI at $877.1 million, a $41.39 million or five percent increase over the FY2021 level of $835.71 million.

In releasing the bills, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stated that “These bills make important investments in our nation’s infrastructure, our environment, and the middle class…I have previously called for bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on topline spending for FY2022, and I renew that call today so that we can enact all twelve appropriations bills by December 3, when the current Continuing Resolution expires.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) also released a statement urging a bipartisan effort for the completion of the FY 2022 appropriations process saying that, “We need a topline agreement that does not shortchange our nation’s defense and a willingness to set aside partisan politics. Only then will we be able to produce full year bills for the American people.  Otherwise, we will oppose these partisan drafts.”

NAEVR issued a statement thanking Senate leadership for the proposed NIH/NEI funding increases and urged the Senate and House to work together without delay to finalize FY2022 LHHS appropriations that includes the House-passed $3.5 billion increase to the NIH base that enables inflation-plus-growth increases of  five percent for the Institutes and Centers (I/Cs), including the NEI.