Wrap Up – 114th Congress Lame Duck Session

BY Dane Christiansen, Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington D.C.


The 114th Congress finished up last week by passing several bills of interest to METAvivor. These bills either have been or are in the process of being signed by the president.

21st Century Cures

Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century Cures legislation which provides modest resources during the next 10 years for specific programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and establishes initiatives at both agencies meant to accelerate the development of treatments, medical devices, and diagnostic tools for diseases. (See our previous memo on the 21st Cures legislation)

Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations/CR through April 28th, 2017

Congressional leaders and President Obama punted final decisions on Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 spending into the coming calendar year—leaving the incoming president and the 115th Congress to finish off that process. In order to keep the federal government operating in lieu of completed spending bills, Congress and the administration enacted a Continuing Appropriations Resolution or “CR.”

The CR passed by Congress and signed by the President sets spending at FY 2016 levels for most federal agencies through April 28th, 2017. The CR does not contain controversial health and environmental policy riders that have bogged down the appropriations process in recent years.

Accounts at nearly all federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Department of Defense are level-funded through April 28th.  Pending increases and policy recommendations contained in the FY 2017 appropriations bills for these agencies are on hold at this time.

The CR includes some immediate funding adjustments, such as providing an additional $352 million to the NIH for the spending specifically authorized by the 21st Century Cures legislation for the following programs:

  • $40 million for Precision Medicine
  • $10 million for the BRAIN Initiative
  • $300 million for cancer research and the Cancer Moonshot
  • $2 million for Regenerative Medicine

The CR also provides $20 million for the FDA Innovation Fund and $500 million for state opioid grants, consistent with the amount authorized by the 21st Century Cures bill.

We will continue to keep you informed on developments in the FY 2017 appropriations process and on developments related to the FY 2018 budget proposal.

National Defense Authorization Act and Medical Research

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017 (NDAA) passed during the last few days of the 114th Congress and includes recommendations for the Department of Defense (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The DOD authorization conference report contains the following language:

“The conferees express concern regarding the amount of congressional funding for medical research in the Department of Defense's (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Since 1992, Congress has appropriated almost $10 billion for medical research - most of it outside of DOD’s core medical research mission and not requested in the Department's annual budget requests.”

comments powered by Disqus