Congress Reaches a Final Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations Agreement
The final Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus bill and statements of conferees were released on May 1. All of the Association’s priorities were funded at either the same level as in fiscal year 2016 or with a slight increase. President Trump said he will sign the bill, even though it rejects all his proposed domestic budget cuts.
National Institutes of Health
The bill provides a total of $34.084 billion for the NIH, $2 billion (+6.2%) above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This amount includes $352 million from the 21st Century Cures Act. The Fogarty International Center received an appropriation of $72.213 million, an increase of $1.8 million.
The conferees said they expect NIH “to support a consistent NIH-wide inflationary policy across all ICs [Institutes and Centers] that is no less that the general increase provided to all ICs (3.0 percent) for non-competing grants.” They also said they supported “actions to significantly reduce the average age of NIH-supported new investigators.” NIH on Tuesday is expected to announce limitations on the number and/or amount of awards to investigators in an effort to restructure the grant funding pool.
Centers for Disease Control
The agreement includes a total of program level of $7.3 billion for the CDC – $22 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Within the CDC account, the agreement includes:
- $25.461 million for the Prevention Research Centers (the same as in FY 2016);
- $25.5 million for the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing Centers ($500,000 more than in FY 2016);
- $29.0 million for the NIOSH Education and Research Centers ($500,000 more than in FY 2016); and
- $8.2 million for the Academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness (the same as in FY 2016).
The provision regarding gun violence research is unchanged.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
AHRQ received an appropriation of $324 million, a reduction of $10 million from the FY 2016 level (and $40 million below the Obama Administration’s request).
Health Resources and Services Administration
HRSA received an appropriation of $6.461 billion, an increase of $77 million. It appears the Public Health Training Centers (PHTC) Program was level funded. The bill provides $17 million for the “Public Health and Preventive Medicine” line, which funds the PHTC program and other activities. That amount is $4 million below the FY 2016 level. The Obama Administration had proposed a $4 million reduction to reflect “the consolidation of the Integrated Medicine program with the Preventive Medicine Residency program.”
Other Accounts of Interest
Opioid Funding: Congress allocated more than $1 billion in the fiscal 2017 omnibus to fight the opioid addiction crisis. The funds span three appropriations bills in the omnibus. The Labor-HHS-Education title would receive $801 million; Commerce-Justice-Science would receive $276.5 million; and Military Construction-VA, the only one of the 12 appropriations bills that has been enacted, would receive an additional $50 million to help address the problem in the veteran population. Most of the $801 million in this HHS title would go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for response activities, including $500 million that was authorized in the so-called “Cures” legislation in 2016 for a new “State Response to Opioid Abuse” program. The bill also includes a $50 million increase in prescription drug overdose and heroin abuse programs at the CDC to bring the total funding to $126 million.
Pell Grants: The bill includes an expansion of Pell grant eligibility to include low-income students attending classes all year. Democratic leaders said that the provision restoring year-round Pell grants would provide one million students with an additional average Pell grant award of $1,650.
Environmental Protection Agency: The bill funds the EPA at $8.06 billion, a reduction of $81.4 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Within this total, the EPA’s research and regulatory programs are reduced by $52 million. The legislation holds the EPA staff to the current level of 15,000 positions