Status Update: Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

Under regular order in the annual budget and appropriations process, the president would release the president’s budget submission in February and Congress would complete its budget resolution, which sets the top-line budget totals and divides spending into categories, by mid-April. However, as we have seen over the past several years, ‘regular order’ has become more of the exception than the rule as continuing resolutions (CRs) are passed to keep the government afloat (until budget deals can be reached), and appropriations deadlines are continually pushed back.

In this year’s case, the public didn’t see movement with respect to fiscal year 2018 budget resolutions until the House Budget Committee unveiled its budget blueprint in July and the Senate Budget Committee unveiled its version late last month. Among the biggest takeaways in both the House and Senate versions are the cuts to non-defense spending, which covers everything outside of the defense portfolio, including scientific research, education, etc.:

“The Senate’s resolution keeps defense spending at the budget cap levels outlined by the Budget Control Act. It hacks away at non-defense spending starting in 2019, cutting it by as much as $106 billion by 2027. The House, on the other hand, cuts into non-defense spending right away, but includes a $70 billion increase in defense spending in 2018 alone” (The Hill).

The full House narrowly passed its $4.1 trillion budget resolution last Thursday, October 5, creating a pathway through which members could pass tax reform via the budget reconciliation process. The full Senate is expected to consider its budget resolution in mid-October.

Drilling down further into fiscal 2018 spending, the House and Senate are also working to finalize their respective spending bills, including appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). The House, which in mid-September voted along party lines to approve a package of 12 spending bills, is farther ahead in the process than the Senate, whose Labor-HHS bill for fiscal 2018 was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee just last month.

Relevant for AADR members, the House and Senate bills call for a $1.1 and $2 billion increase, respectively, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The two spending bills also call for increases to the budget of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). The House bill provides roughly $432.36 million for NIDCR, and the Senate bill provides just under $439.74 million, compared with the fiscal 2017 level of $425.75 million.

The House and Senate bills will ultimately have to be reconciled, and in anticipation of the end of the fiscal year on September 30, lawmakers voted to extend 2017 spending levels until December 8, 2017 to give them more time to reach an agreement. However, it is not clear whether Congress and the White House will be able to make a deal by that time.

AADR will continue to keep its members apprised of the budget process and how developments unfold in the weeks to come.

Fiscal Year 2018 Resources:

AADR sends letter to House leadership opposing CHAMPION Act’s reliance on Prevention Fund dollars

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) this week sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership expressing AADR’s opposition to using money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Prevention Fund) as an offset to pay for the Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve our Nation Act of 2017, or CHAMPION Act.

The CHAMPION Act, proposed by Representative Greg Walden (R-OR), calls for critical federal funding extensions for programs such as Community Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps. While it is critical that Congress fund these programs, the CHAMPION Act proposes to do so at the expense of the Prevention Fund (specifically by cutting $6.35 billion from the Fund over the next eight years) and the agencies and essential public health programs it supports. The Prevention Fund, as the nation’s only dedicated investment in prevention and public health programs, works in concert with the programs included in the CHAMPION Act to collectively improve the health of all Americans.

In addition to the Prevention Fund’s roles in supporting community prevention programs, such as tobacco cessation programs, and expanding public health research and tracking efforts, it also accounts for roughly 12 percent of the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including funding for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. This program provides nearly $4 million for state oral health programs and plays a key role in supporting preventive dental care.

Therefore, AADR asked that while policymakers work to extend funding for these primary care programs that they find solutions that do not cut or divert current or future funding allocations from the Prevention Fund. As AADR noted in its letter, “The Prevention Fund and its initiatives would benefit these programs, resulting in better care at the state level and healthier families across the nation.”

Read AADR’s letter here.

Administration Issues Proclamation Revising Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

Earlier this year, shortly after its term began, the administration issued the executive order (EO) “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which among other provisions, suspended entry into the United States for immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya for a 90-day period. The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) strongly opposed that EO, citing its potential chilling effect on the global scientific community and on our mission to advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide.

This past Sunday, September 24, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation revising the restrictions and limitations set forth by the previous EO. Per the proclamation, beginning on October 18, entry restrictions and limitations are to be put into effect for the following countries (countries not included in the earlier EO are bolded): Chad, Somalia, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Venezuela’s restrictions are narrower, with the order’s attention focused predominately on government officials and their families, and Sudan is no longer included in the list.

Beyond the countries included in the proclamation, there are a few notable differences between the orders issued in January and September. First, unlike the previous order, which had a specified 90-day time frame, the new restrictions are intended to be indefinite, though a senior administration official referred to them as “conditions- based, not time-based.” The new proclamation also eases restrictions on individuals who hold visas and states that no immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before October 18 will be revoked, though once student or work visas expire, their renewal is not guaranteed. Yet, while there are various exemptions and waivers included within the new text, as was noted in The New York Times, “most [citizens of the countries] will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America.”

In the coming months, AADR will we be monitoring this policy’s potential impact on the scientific enterprise (including, but not limited to, faculty and students’ ability to research, teach, or attend international scientific conferences) and take action to safeguard research and champion those who conduct it. Collaboration and the free flow of ideas is core to scientific progress and the advancement of our nation as a whole.

IADR has a global reach, with members and student members from all over the world, including those countries identified above. We remain committed to our diverse membership and will continue to partner with the broader scientific and health care communities in advocating for policies that allow not only our members – but also other students, scientists, and international peers – to partner, study and learn from one another both at home and abroad.