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House Passes HHS Spending Bill, President Signs Into Law

September 28, 2018—The House of Representatives Sept. 26 voted 361-61 to approve 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).

House passage of the compromise package follows its Sept. 18 passage in the Senate [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 21]. Shortly after House passage, the AAMC issued a statement thanking House members for finalizing passage of the FY 2019 Labor-HHS bill for the first time in two decades. The statement concludes, “We urge the President to sign this bill before October 1 and finalize the support for these programs that are vital to our patients and our nation’s health security.”

Similarly, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, convened by the AAMC, thanked House Appropriations Committee leadership, including Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), for their “longstanding support for the NIH and their dedication to timely passage of this important legislation.”

In addition to the funding increase for the NIH, the package provides modest increases for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and invests in new and existing health workforce programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The spending measure also maintains the salary cap at Executive Level II of the federal pay scale and continues a provision in the FY 2018 spending bill that prohibits the administration from modifying NIH support for facilities and administrative expenses.

Unlike the FY 2019 bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee, the package does not include language that would prohibit research using fetal tissue from induced abortions. Separately, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Sept. 24 statement announcing that the department had terminated a contract with a company that had been providing the Food and Drug Administration fetal tissue to develop testing protocols. HHS also indicated plans to conduct a “comprehensive review of all research involving fetal tissue.”

Following approval by both the House and Senate, the president Sept. 28 signed the Labor-HHS bill into law in advance of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. The package also effectively extends FY 2018 funding through Dec. 7 for any federal agencies whose funding levels have not been finalized by Oct. 1.


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

Matthew Shick, JD
Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-828-0525

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


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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