The House passed three spending packages to determine fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding levels for most of the federal government during the week of July 26, including funding for agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The package (H.R.4502) of seven FY 2022 spending bills passed by a vote of 219-208 on July 29 and includes increased funding over FY 2021 levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Health Resources and Services Administration-administered workforce and pipeline programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other key health security programs.
The House completed consideration of amendments to the Appropriations Committee-passed Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill [refer to Washington Highlights, July 16] on July 27, providing $3 million more than the committee-passed bill for specific NIH institutes and centers, for a total NIH budget of $49.4 billion. Among other provisions, lawmakers also adopted amendments to provide $5 million to HRSA’s Rural Health program to support the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) telehealth mentoring model, as well as increased funding for neonatal abstinence syndrome research at the CDC.
Additionally, the House-passed bill maintained $980 million for the HRSA Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs, a $226 million (30%) increase over FY 2021 enacted levels. This includes substantial increases to the diversity pathway programs including Centers of Excellence and Health Careers Opportunity Programs.
Following passage of the seven-bill package, the AAMC-convened Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issued a statement applauding the House for its continued commitment to the NIH and urging the Senate to work quickly on its own bipartisan proposal to increase funding to the NIH.
“The $49 billion provided in the House bill for the NIH overall, including more than $46 billion for the agency’s core funding, recognizes the need to increase research across disease areas through sustained, robust funding growth for the NIH. We also appreciate that the House-approved bill would fund the president’s proposed new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health with an investment that supplements, rather than supplants, the NIH’s base budget,” the statement said.
H.R. 4502 also included the FY 2022 Military Construction, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) spending bill, with members approving an amendment to increase funding for the VA’s Medical and Prosthetic Research Program by $2 million to support additional research into veteran suicide. The final MilCon-VA bill included $904 million for VA research compared to the $902 million in the Appropriations Committee-approved bill [refer to Washington Highlights, July 1].
As of July 30, the House has passed 9 of the 12 annual spending bills with two months remaining until the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The Senate is expected to begin consideration of three FY 2022 spending bills before departing for August recess.