The House of Representatives Sept. 14 passed its fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending package by a vote of 211-198. The House Sept. 6 began consideration of H.R. 3354, the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act,” an “octo-bus” of the remaining eight FY 2018 appropriations bills reported from the House Appropriations Committee [See Washington Highlights, Sept. 8], which continued due to the extended amount of debate over 224 amendments filed on the bill.
H.R. 3354 contains the FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill (H.R. 3358, H.Rept. 115-234) approved by the House Appropriations Committee in July, which provided a $943.4 million increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but made cuts to other HHS agencies, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and workforce programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administrations (HRSA) [see Washington Highlights, July 21].
Of the 224 amendments filed, the House adopted two NIH related amendments. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) offered an amendment, which was adopted by voice vote en bloc, aimed at increasing National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding by $1 million to execute a study on how to improve doctor-patient communication. Additionally, the House approved by voice vote an amendment offered by Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) to increase NCI funding by $3,819,000, offset with a reduction to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary account.
The House also considered two amendments focused on the Health Resources and Servicces Administration (HRSA)'s Title VII and Title VIII programs. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D-N.M.) Title VII Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program amendment, which would have increased the program’s funding by $5 million from the House proposed allocation of $25 million, failed by a vote of 115-297. Rep. Grace Meng's (D-N.Y) amendment to increase funding for Title VII's Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program by $4 million, also failed by a vote of 115-297.