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  • Washington Highlights

    House Appropriators Advance Spending Bill With Drastic Cuts for Health Agencies


    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
    For Media Inquiries

    The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on July 14 approved, by voice vote, over Democratic objections, a draft fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending bill that would reduce by $60.3 billion (29%) funding for several agencies and programs within the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Labor.  

    According to the bill text and summaries issued by the committee majority and minority, the bill would provide a total of $45.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $3.8 billion reduction below the comparable FY 2023 funding level, including reductions to the agency’s base, a failure to restore scheduled reductions in funding from the Innovation Account established in the 21st Century Cures Act, and a reduction in new funding available to the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Shortly after the bill’s July 13 release, the AAMC-convened Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issued a statement urging lawmakers to “reject cuts to medical research and instead provide robust funding for the NIH in FY 2024.” 

    The bill also would eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, several programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the diversity pathway programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration: the Title VII Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) and Centers of Excellence (COE), and the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Diversity program. 

    In addition to the funding cuts and program eliminations, the bill also would impose several new policy riders prohibiting, limiting, or restricting a wide variety of actions related to specific types or sites of research; reproductive health; gender-affirming care; and diversity, equity, and inclusion; among other topics. 

    At the markup, full and subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) condemned the bill as “shameful,” describing “dreadful cuts to the National Institutes of Health,” and several other cuts throughout the bill. Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), however, noted in his opening statement, “This bill represents a clear first step toward returning to fiscal responsibility, while ensuring that funding for critical and high-priority functions are maintained,” listing, among other examples, “a priority on biodefense, programs that support rural America, targeted education programs including those for children with special needs, and Congressional oversight responsibilities.”  

    The bill next must be approved by the full appropriations committee before it can be considered by the House. The subcommittee’s Senate counterpart has not yet released its version of the spending bill.