Congress Passes, President Signs, Final FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Legislation

On March 11, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, a $1.5 trillion Omnibus Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Appropriations bill, which combines all the FY22 spending bills into one package. The signing comes after Congress finalized the bill earlier in the week, with the House passing the package on March 9 and the Senate following suit on March 10 with bipartisan support.

The omnibus delivers on key priorities for both parties and includes a compromise between earlier House and Senate bills for NIH and NEI funding. The omnibus includes $44.959 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $2.025 billion or 4.72 percent over FY21. For the National Eye Institute (NEI), the bill provides $863.918 million, an increase of $28.204 million or 3.26 percent over FY21.

President Biden’s action came just before the expiration of a Continuing Resolution (CR), set to expire at midnight on March 11, the third CR that Congress had been forced to pass due to the delay in finalizing the FY22 spending bills before the start of the fiscal year on October 1 of last year.

The bill also includes $20 million in funding for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Vision Research Program (VRP), the fourth year that the VRP has been funded at that level. There is a specific provision within the bill that permits agencies to use appropriated funds for “interagency funding for coordination with, participation in, or recommendations involving activities of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, and the National Institutes of Health research programs.” For FY23, NAEVR is requesting that Congress fund the VRP at a level of $30 million. The VRP has already begun work on the Program Announcement for the FY22 funding cycle and plans on releasing a Pre-Announcement in early April, with the full Program Announcement expected in late May. VRP Program Manager Tian Wang, PhD, will speak at NAEVR’s Defense-related Vision Research Opportunities Session at the ARVO Annual Meeting in Denver and discuss the VRP’s priorities for this funding cycle.