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Washington Highlights

FY 2019 Labor-HHS Funding Package Nears Completion

September 21, 2018—The Senate Sept. 18 voted to approve, 93-7, the conference agreement for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor-HHS-Education and Defense spending bills (H.R. 6157), providing a total of $178 billion for the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Education, including a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Passage of the compromise package follows its Sept. 14 filing by the House-Senate conference committee [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 14]. Shortly after Senate passage, the AAMC issued a statement thanking Senators for working in a bipartisan fashion to pass a bill that “will support vital health care programs that benefit all Americans, including funding for medical research and the health care workforce.”

Similarly, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, convened by the AAMC, published a statement noting that the combined Labor-HHH and Defense conference agreement, coupled with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 passed in early February [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 9], paved the way to “four years of notable funding increases for the NIH, [which] keenly reflects the sustainable, predictable growth above inflation necessary to realize the invaluable promise of new cures, diagnostics, preventions, and treatments offered through NIH.” Both statements included particular thanks to Senate and Appropriations leadership for their work on the spending bill.

The House is expected to vote on the conference report, which also includes a continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for any incomplete spending bills, when representatives return to Washington the week of Sept. 24. If approved, it will then require the president’s signature in advance of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown.

The White House has not yet published a Statement of Administration Policy on the conference package; however, President Trump Sept. 20 expressed disappointment via Twitter about an unspecified “ridiculous Spending Bill” and highlighted his concern about the lack of funding for a border wall in the appropriations packages.


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525

Christa Wagner, PhD
Senior Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0595

Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806