House Passes FY2020 Appropriations with NIH/NEI Increases, Defense Vision Funding

On December 17, the U.S. House of Representatives approved two “minibus” spending packages totaling $1.37 trillion that together contain all twelve Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills and fund the government through September 30, 2020. The House voted 297-120 to approve H.R. 1865, the FY2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act that included $540.4 billion in spending in an eight-bill package that contains the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill. Earlier, the House voted 280-138 to approve H.R. 1158, the FY2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act that includes $860.3 billion in spending in a four-bill package that contains the Defense funding bill. Both minibus packages now head to the Senate, where a vote is expected on December 19, giving the President about 24 hours to sign the legislation before the current Continuing Resolution expires on December 20 at midnight.

Within H.R. 1865, the LHHS bill reflects $184.9 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $4.9 billion over the FY2019 enacted level and $43 billion over the President’s 2020 budget request. The bill includes a total of $94.9 billion for HHS programs, an increase of $4.4 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $16.8 billion above the President’s budget request.

The LHHS bill funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $41.68 billion, a $2.6 billion or 6.7 percent increase above the FY2019 enacted level. $492 million of the increase reflects funding for the NIH Innovation Fund, as designated by the 21st Century Cures Act. The National Eye Institute (NEI) is funded at $824.09 million, an increase of $27.6 million or 3.5 percent above enacted FY2019. The bill’s Report Language states that, “The agreement provides a funding increase of no less than 3.3 percent above FY2019 to every Institute and Center (I/C) to continue investments in research that will save lives, lead to new drug and device development, reduce health care costs, and improve the lives of all Americans.”

The bill also maintains the Extramural Salary Cap at Executive Level (EL) II ($192,300 in FY2019).     

As detailed by the House Appropriations Committee, the LHHS bill “continues to support several critical NIH research initiatives,” including:

  • $2.8 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research.
  • $3.1 billion for HIV/AIDS research.
  • $500 million for the All of Us Precision Medicine research initiative.
  • $500 million for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.
  • $195 million for the Cancer Moonshot research initiative.
  • $50 million for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative, as well as $30 million to implement the Childhood Cancer STAR Act.
  • $12.5 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research.
  • $75 million for Research Centers in Minority Institutions.
  • $200 million for research to develop a universal flu vaccine.

The Defense spending bill includes $20 million for the Peer Reviewed Vision Research Program, the same level as in FY2019 and which was requested in NAEVR advocacy.

NAEVR has issued a statement of appreciation for Congressional action to finalize FY2020 appropriations and for the NIH/NEI funding increases and DOD/Vision Research Program funding.