APLU issued a statement on the Labor, HHS and Education bills both praising the investments in the National Institutes of Health and Pell grant awards for next year and expressing concerns about the reduction of the Pell surplus and funding levels for other programs. Also, the House of Representatives passed with bipartisan support increased authorizations for the National Institutes of Health. Finally, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo to the heads of the science agencies regarding priorities for the FY2017 Budget.
APLU Statement on House and Senate FY2016 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bills
APLU issued a statement on the House and Senate versions of the FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills. The statement praises the bills investments in the National Institutes of Health and the scheduled increase in the maximum Pell grant award. The statement also expresses serious concern about the reduction of the Pell surplus (needed to help ensure that the Pell program can fully support qualified future students) and funding levels of other programs. The statement urges members of Congress to address the underlying problem of sequester-level budget caps that stand in the way of Congress making the investments needed to close the innovation deficit.
House Approves 21st Century Cures Legislation
Last week, the House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures legislation (H.R.6) by a vote of 344 to 77. This legislation is a bipartisan effort led by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), which would provide long-needed funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a “Cures Innovation Fund” of $1.75 billion in mandatory funding for NIH for each of five years. The bill would also increase the authorization for the NIH by $1.5 billion for the next three years. This is the strongest moving piece of legislation in support of the NIH in many years.
During floor consideration, Rep. David Brat (R-VA) offered an amendment that would have made the Innovation Fund discretionary rather than mandatory. The biomedical research community strongly opposed this amendment, which failed by a vote of 141 to 281.
APLU issued a statement praising the bill and calling it a “significant step forward in providing NIH with the increased funding the agency needs to make up for over a decade of flat and declining resources.”
OMB/OSTP Issue FY2017 Science Priorities Memo
The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo to the heads of the science agencies regarding Multi-Agency Science and Technology Priorities for the FY2017 Budget. According to the memo, “Agency proposals aligned with multi-agency R&D priorities and demonstrating interagency coordination are more likely to be prioritized in FY2017 Budget deliberations.”