Washington, DC Update

Posted 14 September 2017

Upon returning from their August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee completed its work on the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) and State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2018. As has been widely reported, both the Senate and the House have largely ignored the President’s proposed budget.

As compared to FY 2017 funding levels, the Senate LHHS bill includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, a $200 million increase for NIAID and a $2 million increase for the Fogarty International Center (which had been zeroed out in the President’s budget). The bill would also increase CDC’s budget by $25 million; decrease the Center for Global Health’s funding by $2 million; and increases funding for the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease by $50 million. Parasitic diseases and malaria would be funded at $26 million, a $1.5 million increase from the House bill. Included in the Senate SFOPs bill, as compared with FY 2017 levels, is a decrease for global health programs overall, down $125 million. The bill would level funding for the Global Fund at $1.35 billion, and would decrease global health programs at USAID by $80 million to $2.9 billion. The Senate SFOPs bill would also fund malaria programs at $755 million and provide $100 million for the neglected tropical diseases program. 

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives in considering FY 18 funding on the House floor. The LHHS and SFOPs bills were packaged together with six other bills. Notably, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) proposed an amendment to the LHHS bill that would decrease global health funding by $14 million. This was another example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. ASTMH sent a strong opposition letter to the amendment to all House members. This amendment has subsequently been withdrawn. 

As predicted in the previous newsletter, this year was no different from all the others in that Congress’ will not meet its September 30 deadline for finalizing funding for FY 2018; so funding for FY 2018 will begin operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that maintains spending levels at the previous year’s level. President Trump signed the short-term CR on September 8 that funds the government through December 8. This means that the House and the Senate has until that time to reconcile their differences in their funding bills or pass another extension.