FY14 Appropriations Bill Proposes Funding for NIH, NIDCR and other agencies

Late last night the House and Senate Appropriations Committee released the Consolidated
Appropriations Act of 2014,
which provides proposed funding levels and report language for the remainder of fiscal year 2014.  Congress still needs to approve and vote on this legislation in order for it to become law.

First of all, thank you to all our advocates who responded to the AADR Action Alerts, contacted your Members of Congress, invited them to your campuses, wrote editorials and other activities that heightened their awareness of the importance of a strong biomedical research enterprise for America.  Your efforts were noted and against all odds, the Consolidated Appropriations Act contains a Labor-Health and Human Services (L-HHS) appropriations section.

Specifically, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 proposes to fund the National Institutes of Health at $29.926 billion and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at $398.7 million, which is nearly a one billion dollar increase for NIH and an $11.7 million increase from the FY13 post-sequestration level for NIDCR. However, this is still $766 million below FY12 for NIH and $11.6 million below for NIDCR.  It is important to note that the approximate one billion increase provided to the NIH, “…(was) generally distributed proportionately among NIH Institutes and Centers.” The other additional amounts were added to the National Institute of Aging in recognition of Alzheimer’s research and also to other institutes in anticipation of research in connection to the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Additionally, the explanatory statement accompanying the bill includes report language
encouraging the director of the NIH to make the development of alternative dental restorative materials a high priority.

“Dental Materials Research-The United Nations (UN) Environmental Programme, International Negotiating Committee completed deliberations in January 2013 on a global legally binding treaty on mercury. The UN agreement contains provisions for the reduction in the use of dental amalgam, as a mercury- added product, and calls for increased dental research into alternative materials. Given the global commitment to reduce all uses of mercury, the NIH Director is expected to make the development of alternative dental restorative materials a high priority.” (Joint Explanatory Statement, Division H-Depts. Of Labor-HHS-Education pg. 38)

AADR also advocates and tracks funding for a number of institutions.  Click here to view a detailed funding chart.

Other Important Provisions

  • The agreement proposes $32 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oral health training program. Within the $32 million no less than $8 million is dedicated for general dentistry programs and not less than $8 million for pediatric dentistry programs. This section also prohibits health workforce funds to be used for section 340G-1, the Alternative Dental Health Care Providers Demonstration
  • The agreement includes funding for the early childhood caries initiative within the
    Indian Health Services.  According to the report language, “The Service is encouraged to work with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and to consult with Tribes about increasing preventive dental care for children by bringing dentists and hygienists into BIE schools. The Service should continue to make significant strides towards completion of
    electronic dental records. The Service is encouraged to explore establishing a centralized credentialing system to address workforce needs similar to those of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to consider a pilot program for the credentialing of dentists, and to propose funding for fiscal year 2015.”
    The Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention (CDC) programs are directed to actively coordinate with the
    Institutes and Centers of the NIH to identify scientific gaps to accelerate
    understanding of diseases and their prevention knowledge across NIH and CDC
    research portfolios.
  • In accordance with a longstanding tradition funding is not directed to any specific disease research area. The NIH is expected to base its funding decisions only on scientific opportunities and the peer review process.
  • NIH is expected to maintain funding support for basic biomedical research.
  • The NIH Director shall provide a report on Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data within 180 days of enactment to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • The NIH Director and IC Directors are directed to work with the other HHS operating divisions to establish a more systematic means of disseminating research results.
  • The NIH is directed to examine and produce a report on how the post peer review priority setting process, resource allocation process and the portfolio evaluation data and information to ensure that the priority setting process provides decision makers with answers to key questions such as: How the proposed activity
    significantly advances the body of biomedical science; How the proposed activity could contribute to expanding knowledge to improve human health; The relationship and impact of the proposed
    activity to the program goals and objectives; and how the proposed activity could impact the overall research portfolio of the NIH and the national research institute or center involved.
  • The NIH Director shall produce a report regarding the implementation of strategic planning. This report will include information about the prioritization process between rare and neglected diseases while also maintaining a focus balance between translational and basic bio-medical science; and how the plan is harmonized across the NIH ICs to ensure a balanced portfolio that is free of unnecessary duplication and takes advantage of cross-cutting bio-medical research.

For more Information: Click here to read the omnibus appropriations bill and here to read the joint explanatory statement.

What is Next? Today the House will vote on a short term continuing resolution funding the federal government through Jan. 18 to give Congress more time to vote on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. AADR will keep you informed as this process moves forward.


The Next Phase: Funding For Federal Agencies

This week, the Senate approved the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 by a 64-36 vote and President Obama is expected to sign this legislation into law. The next step in this process is the House and Senate Appropriators must begin the challenging job of allocating funding to the federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 before funding runs out on Jan. 15, 2014. Since the budget agreement only rolls back a portion of sequestration, it is expected that there will be winners and losers. This means that some agencies and programs may receive increased funding whereas others may lose funding.

To learn more about the Bipartisan Budget Act click here to read an article written by Sam Stein from the Huffington Post, which explains the complex and delicate forthcoming budget negotiations.

Also, AADR urges you to TAKE ACTION today by sending an email to your Member of Congress and urge him/her to increase funding for NIH and NIDCR.

Federal Budget Deal Approved by the House of Representatives

Last night, the House of Representatives approved the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 by a 332-94 vote, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for the bill. This compromise was brokered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Chairwoman Patty Murray D-Wash. The Bipartisan Budget Act proposes to set the overall discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion and $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015 and provide some relief from sequestration.  This legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. If this legislation is signed into law then the Chairmen of the Appropriations Committees will establish funding levels for the individual appropriations bills including Labor-HHS-Education.  Specifically the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 includes the following:

  • Provides $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. This means that the cap or overall amount of funding available for non-defense discretionary spending will be raised approximately $22 billion above the fiscal year 2013 post sequestration level.  This “increase” in funding would then have to be spread among all of the appropriations bills except defense, which means it will be challenging for agencies and programs to restore all of the cuts administered by the 2013 sequestration order.
  • Viewed a different way, this legislation cuts non-defense discretionary funding by $14.2 billion in fiscal year 2014 from the fiscal year 2013 pre sequestration levels. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities this means that 57% of the non-defense discretionary cuts remain in place over two years.
  • Maintains cuts to non-exempt mandatory programs, like the Prevention and Public Health Fund and Medicare.

AADR sent a letter to members of Congress indicating our support for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and noted that while the legislation is far from perfect it is an important step in the right direction by providing some relief and stability to discretionary programs affected by sequestration and the government shutdown.  AADR will continue to work with our partners urging Congress to undo sequestration in total and replace it with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

It is expected that the Senate will vote on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 soon. If this deal is approved, Congress will then have to draft and vote on legislation after the holidays to keep the government open after Jan. 15, 2014.

Federal Funding Update

Fiscal Year 2014 Funding Update
On Oct. 17 President Obama signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 2775) into law which provides fiscal year 2014 funding at the fiscal year 2013 post-sequestration levels through Jan. 15, 2014. For the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) this equates to $144 million in funding from Oct. 17-Jan.15.

This law also suspends the debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014 and established a formal budget conference to negotiate a framework for long term budget issues and also establish discretionary funding levels for the remainder of fiscal year 2014. The budget conference will produce a report by Dec. 13, 2013.

What does this mean?
Since the budget committee will be developing recommendations on discretionary funding levels for the remainder of fiscal year 2014, the timeframe between now and Dec. 13 represents a critical window of opportunity for advocates to urge members of Congress to replace sequestration with a balanced approach towards deficit reduction. According to media reports the Senate leadership indicates a short term; potentially one year patch to undo sequestration may be included in the budget conference report.

Additionally, Congress will need to approve legislation prior to Jan. 15, 2014 to assure continued funding of the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 and vote to raise the debt ceiling before Feb. 7, 2014.

How can I help?
AADR will be issuing an action alert in the upcoming weeks to educate members of Congress about the harmful effects of the partial government shutdown and urge them to replace sequestration with a balanced approach.

NIH sends informal notice to grantees about potential lapse in appropriated funds

Yesterday the NIH Office of Extramural Research sent the following notice to grantees: 

September 26, 2013

Dear Grantee:

As you are aware, the Government Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 ends on September 30, 2013 and an Appropriation Act for FY2014 has not yet been passed.  The Administration strongly believes that a lapse in appropriations should not occur, and that there is enough time for Congress to act to prevent a lapse.  However, prudent management requires that we prepare for an orderly execution of contingency plans in the unfortunate event of a lapse.  In the event a continuing resolution or a FY2014 budget is not passed and a lapse of funding occurs, I wanted to provide you with information related to our grant administration processes.

Your particular grant program is funded by appropriations that will be affected by a government shutdown.  As a result, if there is a lapse in funding, HHS’ NIH staff will not be available to provide routine administrative support services.  HHS will, however, maintain the Payment Management System in an operational status to continue processing grant drawdown requests. Given that you have received your award prior to the gap in funding, you may  be able to continue drawing funds from prior awards during an appropriations lapse.  If you received your notice of grant award with restrictive terms and conditions, or if your drawdown request triggers one of the Payment Management System edit checks and/or the drawdown limit controls, you will not be able to drawdown funds.

If you are considering submitting an application for additional HHS federal assistance funding, please be advised that the Grants.gov system will be operational during a lapse in funding and will be accepting applications from prospective grantees.   However, for NIH applications the Grants.gov system will only accept and store applications. Applications will not be processed further until such time as the authority and funding to return to normal business operations are restored.

Please check the website at www.hhs.gov for updates.  Thank you for your assistance with this period of a potential government shut-down and your ongoing support of the NIH.

Sally J. Rockey, Ph.D.
NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research

Senate Subcommittee Pushes $31B for NIH in FY14

Sen. Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the panel, described the bill as making critical investments in education and health

Yesterday, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations approved a FY14 spending bill that includes $30.955 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The figure would put the NIH budget 1% above its pre-sequester (FY12) level. The allocation includes $40 million that President Obama requested for the BRAIN initiative. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is provided $409.9 million in the bill, which would represent level funding with FY13 -if not for the 5% reduction this year due to the sequester. Despite this encouraging step, NIH and most of the other discretionary items in the federal budget will be under considerable threat during the remainder of the FY14 appropriations process. The Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations was able to provide NIH and other line-items a boost largely because it is operating with considerably higher top-line budget number, as compared with its House counterpart. The Senate Appropriations Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), advanced top-line budget numbers for the various appropriations subcommittees/bills that assume a replacement to sequestration will be adopted. To say that is a big assumption would be a considerable understatement. Republicans in the Senate have pledged to block floor consideration of any of the FY14 appropriations bills, as they violate current spending caps that sequestration is helping to achieve. Continue reading

Five Minutes for the AADR Advocate in Your State Initiative

Three out of four AADR members (2012 Membership Survey) believe that advocacy is necessary for research. Join AADR’s advocacy efforts at the grassroots level by participating in Advocate in Your State, taking place throughout August. Some activities can be completed now!

AADR Advocate in Your State Webpage

Why should I participate?
This August, Members of Congress will return home to engage their constituents during a five-week recess. AADR is urging its members to participate in its Advocate in Your State program.

The National Institutes of Health is currently slated to lose $19 billion over the 10-year period covered by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which brought the nation the policy now commonly known as sequestration. Similar losses will be experienced within other federal science agencies. The reductions will be felt on the campuses of research institutions around the nation and ultimately by the general public.

How can I help?
Advocacy for dental and craniofacial research can be done effectively without ever setting foot in Washington, DC. Help us to personalize the case for sustained federal investments in research.

A wide range of advocacy options are available to you, some requiring only 5 minutes. You can send an email, make a call, visit the local offices of your Members of Congress, invite Congressional staffers to campus to see your work, attend a town hall, write an op-ed, or send us your story on the impact that the sequester is having on your work or in your community. The AADR Advocate In Your State webpage provides the resources that you will need.

Contact Jonathan Nurse, AADR Director of Government Affairs, with any questions at (703)-299-8098 or jnurse@aadronline.org.

Student Researchers Call for Federal Science Funding

On June 1st, the organization with over 10,000 graduate students known as Stand With Science (SWS) published an op-ed in The Journal of Science Policy & Governance, highlighting the need student engagement and advocacy for the protection of science funding.  Following an explanation of the sequester and its impact to the R&D industry as a whole, SWS discusses funding cuts that impact the student community:  “We as graduate students must be concerned about cuts to all science funding, as all cuts to science are cuts to our future livelihoods as much as they are cuts to our nation’s competitiveness.” They follow with a subsequent call to action to the research community as a whole:  “We believe the roll of the scientist should not be limited to the laboratory, and that [we] have a responsibility to contribute to important policy debates concerning science and science funding.”

See the article here.