Congress Sends Six-Month Spending Bill to the President

Over the weekend, the Senate joined the House of Representatives in approving a stopgap spending measure that keeps the federal government in operation for the first half of Fiscal Year 2013 -which begins on Monday October 1st. The bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), provides temporary FY13 funding at the FY12 level. An additional 0.612% above FY12 will be provided through the CR as a result of a slightly higher overall budget ceiling for FY13. The CR is necessary since Congress has yet to send the president any of its annual spending bills. The permanent FY13 budget, along with legislation on taxes and long-term deficit reduction, is now on hold as both chambers of Congress stand in recess until after the November elections. Continue reading

New Federal Funding Opportunities & Notices (NIH, AHRQ)

HHS components have recently released several funding opportunities and notices of interest. Details follow…

Request for Information (RFI): Identifying Organizations with the Appropriate Expertise to Participate in a Mobile Health (mHealth) Collaborative Public-Private Partnership

Notice Number: NOT-OD-12-151

Key Dates
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Response Date:  October 5, 2012
Issued by:
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) – NIH

This request for information (RFI) seeks to identify organizations with the appropriate expertise to serve as managing partner and/or participants for the “mHealth Public-Private Partnership” (mHealth PPP) with the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Continue reading

September 20th is Call or Tweet Congress Day

The federal government supports many programs that benefit all Americans, including medical and scientific research; public health; education and job training; public safety and law enforcement; weather monitoring; housing and social services; and international relations. In Washington, these programs are collectively referred to as “non-defense discretionary” or simply “NDD” programs. On January 2, 2013 these programs will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent through an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration” unless Congress works together to prevent these cuts through a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.

On September 20th please join the NDD community in a National NDD Community Call-in and Tweet Day and ask your member of Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, including oral health research. Continue reading

OMB Report: NIH to Lose $2.5 Billion

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a congressionally-mandated report that details the potential impact of the across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled to take place in January 2013. According to the report, $30.7 billion of the NIH budget would be subject to a 8.2% ($2.518 billion) reduction and an additional $150 million in mandatory spending slated for diabetes research would be subject to a 7.6% ($11 million) reduction for an overall total of $2.529 billion. OMB states that “The National Institutes of Health would have to halt or curtail scientific research, including needed research into cancer and childhood diseases.” The report confirms what has been discussed in and around Congress for months, a potential fiscal disaster with far reaching implications awaits the nation at the beginning of calendar year 2013 if our elected leaders fail in the art of compromise and balance.

Full OMB Report on Budget Sequestration

Coalition for Health Funding Statement: “…Sequestration is Bad for America’s Health”

NIH Announces Selection of NCATS Director

Dr. Christopher Austin

Today, the National Institutes of Health announced the selection of a director for its newest Center. Christopher P. Austin, M.D., will lead the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) beginning on September 23rd. Most recently, Dr. Austin served as director on the NCATS Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation.

Vote for… HHS Top Health Innovations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has invited the public to vote for one of the finalists of the HHSinnovates program, which recognizes innovating projects led by HHS employees designed to address critical health care challenges facing the nation. The six finalists were selected from over 60 submissions from across the agency. Candidates include:

  • The 100K Pathogen Genome Project
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Exchange
  • Online Food Handler Training Project
  • Development and Use of Coal Dust Explosibility Meter
  • National Health Service Corps Jobs Center
  • National Institute of Health Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools

For full project descriptions and to cast your ballot visit: News Release

**Note: Voting is closed**

Government Shutdown Likely Averted

Congress is back from recess and currently considering stopgap legislation to fund the federal government for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2013, which begins on October 1st. The need for the temporary legislation, referred to as a continuing resolution (CR), has arisen because legislators have yet to come to agreement on permanent spending bills for the coming fiscal year. Permanent FY13 spending bills are not expected until a “lame duck” session of Congress (at the earliest) that will occur after the November elections. Continue reading