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Monthly Briefing

Monthly Briefing

December 2015 Monthly Briefing

The Bottom Line

  • Congress passed the final fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill on December 18, 2015
  • The bill provides increases in the appropriation levels for NIH (+6.6%), CDC (+4.1%), and HRSA (+0.6%)
  • AHRQ funding was cut by 8.5%, but survived efforts to kill it
  • ASPPH’s specific program advocacy efforts were very successful

What's New

ASPPH Funding Priorities Reflected in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Agreement

Congress passed the final fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill on December 18, 2015. The advocacy efforts of ASPPH members appear to have been very successful. The $1.1 trillion dollar package reflected the revised budget caps from the last-October budget deal with $518.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs and $548.1 billion for defense discretionary programs. The bill fully allocates the Prevention and Public Health Fund, with $892.3 million going to the CDC. The text of the 2,009-page bill is available here and the report on Division H (Labor-HHS-Education) is available here.  An updated ASPPH appropriations priorities chart has been posted.

National Institutes of Health

FY 2016 Omnibus $32.084B (+$2.0B) (+6.6%)
House $31.184B (+$1.1B)
Senate $32.184B (+$2.1B)
Request $31.084B (+$1.0B)
FY 2015 Enacted $30.084B

 

NIH received the largest boost in its funding in more than a decade. The Omnibus keeps the salary cap on PHS grants at Executive Level II. The measure also provides $165 million for “the National Children’s Study Follow-on,” which is the Environmental influences on Children’s Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. It also provides $200 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), with $130 million allocated to the Common Fund and $70 million to the National Cancer Institute. The bill mandates that NIH require investigators receiving NIH funding generating and analyzing large volumes of data from human participants to obtain certificates of confidentiality. The report also specifies an increase of $350 million for Alzheimer’s disease research (to $936 million) and an increase of $100 million for research to combat antimicrobial resistance

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FY 2016 Omnibus $7.23B (+$168M) (+4.1%)
House $7.01B (+$140M)
Senate $6.65B (-$215M)
Request $7.09B (+$140M)
FY 2015 Enacted $6.93B

 

Prevention Research Centers (PRCs): The Omnibus provides $25.461 million for the Prevention Research Centers. The House had provided $24 million (-$1.46 million) and the Senate provided $25.461 million, the same level as in FY 2015. There is no language in the final report related to the House report’s earlier request that the Government Accountability Office to review the PRC Special Interest Projects (SIPs). The final report also does not comment on the House report’s statement that “it remains concerned that SIP funds made available through Prevention Research Centers are not being competed from all qualified entities.”

Academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness: The Omnibus provides $8.2 million (+$0.02 million) for the Centers, the level approved by the House. The Senate earlier proposed not fund the program.

NIOSH Education and Research Centers: The Omnibus provides $28.5 million for the Centers (+$1.05 million), the same level proposed by the House. The Senate bill had provided $27.445 million.

NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Centers: The Omnibus provided $25 million (+$1 million) for the AFF program. The House had provided $27 million. The Senate bill did not fund the program.

Workplace Wellness Network: The Omnibus is silent on the Workplace Wellness Network and appears not to have been funded. As part of its FY 2016 budget submission, the Administration proposed to defund the CDC Workplace Health Research Network, funded as a Special Interest Project (SIP) under the Prevention Research Centers program. The funding for the Network ($1 million in FY 2015) comes from a separate Workplace Health line item in the CDC budget. ASPPH opposed the proposed budget cut.

Health Resources Services Administration

FY 2016 Omnibus $6.384B (+$37M) (+0.6%)
House $6.049B (-$299M)
Senate $6.241B (-$106M)
Request $6.462B (+$115M)
FY 2015 Enacted $6.347B

 

Public Health Training Centers and Public Health Traineeships: The Omnibus provide $21 million for Public Health and Preventive Medicine Programs, the same level as in FY 2015. It appears that the Public Health Training Centers received level funding ($9,864,000) and that the Traineeships were not funded. The House report stated that $10 million has been provided for Public Health Workforce Development but was silent on which programs are to be funded. The Senate provided $4.932 million (-$4.932 million) for the Public Health Training Centers.

Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research

FY 2016 Omnibus $334M (-$31M) (-8.5%)
House $0 (-$363M)
Senate $236M (-$128M)
Request $363M (same)
FY 2015 Enacted $363M

 

The Omnibus restored a significant amount of the funding for AHRQ. The House proposed not to fund AHRQ and would have transferred the Prevention Public Health Task Force to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health. AHRQ also received almost $95 million in funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Fund.

Other Provisions of Note

E-Cigarettes & Tobacco: The Omnibus contained two significant victories for tobacco control. The final language did not contain the detrimental policy rider proposed in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill that would have weakened FDA’s authority over e-cigarettes and cigars. In addition to not including the rider, the agreement provides $210 million for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. The House Labor HHS Appropriations bill slashed funding to just $105.5 million. The Omnibus provides for almost level funding from last year’s appropriated level of $216.5 million.

Gun Violence: There was no change in the rider concerning gun control in the CDC section of the bill. The text reads, “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”

Needle Exchange: Compromise language concerning needle exchange was included in the Omnibus. The new language reads, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in this Act shall be used to purchase sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug: Provided, That such limitation does not apply to the use of funds for elements of a program other than making such purchases if the relevant State or local health department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, determines that the State or local jurisdiction, as applicable, is experiencing, or is at risk for, a significant increase in hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use, and such program is operating in accordance with State and local law.”

Previous Month's Briefings

October 2015 Monthly Briefing

Congress cleared a Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal Government through December 11, but negotiations on a full year budget agreement have faltered due to House GOP leadership uncertainty. ASPPH’s October policy and advocacy update provides details on the current budget situation as well as on other regulatory and legislative issues of interest of ASPPH’s members.

Read more

September 2015 Monthly Briefing

ASPPH advocates for federal funding for accounts and programs that support public health training and research. In addition, the Association advocates on numerous related policy and regulatory matters. The September public affairs update highlights the current status of the fiscal year 2016 appropriations process, ASPPH’s advocacy coalition activities, and ASPPH’s recent comments on various regulatory proposals and other initiatives.

Read more

July 2015 Monthly Briefing

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees in late June approved differing versions of the fiscal year 2016 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The bills provide major increases for the National Institutes of Health: +$1 Billion in the House version, +$2 Billion in the Senate measure. The House would eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, while the Senate would cuts the agency’s budget by 35 percent.ASPPH’s legislative priorities fared well, with funding provided for most of our priority accounts.

Read more
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