Funding Legislation Approved AADR Posted Summary of the Bill

This weekend Congress approved the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83) by a 219-206 vote in the House and a 56-40 vote in the Senate. This legislation will provide discretionary funding through September 30, 2015 for almost all federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services. The legislation proposes $30.0 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $150 million increase over fiscal year 2014 and $399.8 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and $1.2 million over the comparable appropriated fiscal year 2014 level of $398.6 million.

The explanatory statement accompanying the bill also contains report language about dental caries.

Dental Caries.-Although dental caries have significantly decreased for most Americans over the past four decades, disparities remain among some population groups. The agreement is concerned with these trends and encourages NIDCR to explore more opportunities related to dental caries research. In addition, NIDCR should coordinate with CDC Division of Oral Health to identify research opportunities.

It is important to note that increases were generally distributed proportionally among NIH Institutes and Centers.  Additional funding amounts were added to the National Institute on Aging in recognition of Alzheimers disease research, BRAIN initiative and the National Cancer Institute and the Common Fund to support the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

NIH is also required to submit a wide five year strategic plan within one year of enactment of this bill.

AADR Summary: Click here for a more detailed analysis and information about the FY15 Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act.

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

 

Government Shutdown Averted, House Narrowly Approves Funding Bill

Late last night the House of Representatives approved the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83) by a 219-206 vote.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The Senate is expected to debate and vote on the bill during the next couple of days. A final vote could occur on Monday, December 15. As a result, the federal government is currently operating under a short term two day continuing resolution to give Congress more time to consider what has been dubbed as the “CROmnibus” bill.

Yesterday was certainly filled with highs and lows as the House of Representatives considered the legislation. At one point, it appeared that the House did not have the votes to approve the CROmnibus bill and members of Congress were floating the idea of approving short term continuing resolution to fund the federal government at the current levels for a couple of months. AADR remained actively engaged throughout this process and sent an email to policymakers urging them to vote YES on H.R. 83, citing that increased funding included in the bill was, “…critical to support promising dental, oral and craniofacial research and improve the health of all Americans.”

The next steps in this process remain very fluid. A few Senators have indicated they will not vote for the CROmibus due to some controversial provisions related to the regulation of Wall Street and campaign donation limits whereas other Senators remain opposed to President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Despite this opposition, most pundits are optimistic that the Senate will approve H.R. 83.

Please visit the AADR Government Affairs blog for the latest updates.

 

Federal Funding Bill Posted

On the evening of December 9th Congress released the text of the long awaited fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill which will provide discretionary funding through September 30, 2015 for almost all federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services. The legislation proposes $30.0 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a $150 million increase over fiscal year 2014 and $399.8 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research an approximate $2.7 million increase over the final fiscal year 2014 level of $397 million and $1.2 million over the appropriated fiscal year 2014 level of $398 million.

The explanatory statement accompanying the bill also includes revised report language on dental caries:

Dental Caries.-Although dental caries have significantly decreased for mostAmericans over the past four decades, disparities remain among some population groups. The agreement is concerned with these trends and encourages NIDCR to explore more opportunities related to dental caries research. In addition, NIDCR should coordinate with CDC Division of Oral Health to identify research opportunities.

While we appreciate increased funding over cuts, a half percent increase over the previous fiscal year does not keep up withe the pace of inflation. This will further slow the progress of promising dental, oral and craniofacial research and result in missed opportunities to improve the health of all Americans. The reasons for the slight increase are many, but it is largely due to the fact that Congress is still operating under the tight budget caps dictated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 which make it virtually impossible to enhance investments in discretionary spending.
During the next year AADR will continue our commitment to advocate on behalf of our members for Congress to remove the budget caps and provide needed increases for NIH and NIDCR.
What is next? The next steps in this process remain very fluid. It is expected the House of Representatives will vote on the bill this Thursday followed by a vote in the Senate to avert a government shutdown. The House and Senate may vote on a short term continuing resolution to keep the government running beyond December 11, 2014 to buy more time to vote on the bill.
As this process moves forward please visit the AADR Government Affairs blog for updates and a more detailed analysis of the bill.