House and Senate Adopt FY2019 302(b) Allocations, Setting the Spending Limits for Each of the Twelve Appropriations Bills

House and Senate Adopt FY2019 302(b) Allocations, Setting the Spending Limits For Each of the Twelve Appropriations Bills

Legislative Update
May 25, 2018

On May 23 and 24, the Appropriations Committee of each the House and Senate, respectively, adopted allocations for the twelve spending bills that comprise Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations. Each Subcommittee is allocated a certain amount of funding—called a 302(b) allocation—under the full Committee’s 302(a) allocation to develop a spending bill for the federal programs under their jurisdiction.

In early February 2018, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) which increased spending caps for defense and nondefense discretionary spending in each FY2018 and FY2019. With $597 billion, or a 3 percent increase, in FY2019 nondefense spending, the Senate increased allocations for each of the twelve spending bills, including a $2.2 billion increase for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill (from $177.1 billion in FY2018 to $179.3 billion in FY2019, per the historical chart), which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The prior day, the House adopted allocations that increased the Homeland Security allocation by 10 percent, while providing no increases for the LHHS, Financial Services, and Interior-Environment spending bills.

Although at the April 11 and May 17 LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee hearings of the House and Senate, respectively, on FY2019 NIH funding, Chair Cong. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Chair Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) signaled continuing strong bipartisan support for the NIH, they also noted it would be unlikely that the NIH would see another $3 billion increase as had been enacted in FY2018. The House allocations set the stage for tough choices at the department level — Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services—and especially at the agency level within DHHS regarding funding for NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and others. The difference in allocations also sets the stage for potentially tough negotiations when the House and Senate conference their respective LHHS spending bills.

In April 26 and May 24 written testimony to the LHHS Subcommittee of each the House and Senate, respectively, NAEVR has requested FY2019 NIH funding of at least $39.3 billion and NEI funding of at least $800 million.