Earlier today the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote an FY14 bill that provides $164.33 billion in discretionary funding for programs under its jurisdiction, $7.8 billion higher than FY13 and above the budget caps established in the Budget Control Act. No amendments were offered during the subcommittee markup. As you know, the House is advancing its appropriations bills at a $967 billion overall spending cap, while the Senate is working with a $1.058 trillion cap, which does not take into account the sequester. The House allocation for their Labor-HHS bill is much less than the Senate allocation, at only $121.8 billion.
A summary of the bill is up on the Senate Appropriations committee website. A few funding levels highlighted by the subcommittee include:
National Institutes of Health: The bill provides $30.955 billion, an increase of $307 million, to fund biomedical research at the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise NIH. This level will allow NIH to allocate $40 million for the new Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Other relevant NIH sections include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease: The bill includes an $84 million increase for the National Institute on Aging, the NIH Institute with the primary responsibility for preventing, treating, and curing Alzheimer’s disease. The bill also includes $20 million for a new Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative that will strengthen dementia-capable long-term services and supports, assist caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and train healthcare providers on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and manage the disease.
- Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Four years ago, Congress required NIH to improve the public’s ability to access taxpayer-funded research by means of an online NIH repository. This effort has been highly successful. The bill includes a new provision that extends the requirement to other agencies funded in the bill.
- Accelerating Cures: The bill includes $50 million, five times the FY13 level, for the Cures Acceleration Network, an NIH initiative intended to help speed the translation and application of discoveries that have shown signs of success at the laboratory level but have not advanced far enough to attract significant investments from the private sector.
Centers for Disease Control: The bill includes a program level of $7.023 billion, $475.6 million above FY13. The bill includes $5.8 billion in Budget Authority. Within the CDC appropriation, $20 million is included for the Advanced Molecular Detection and Response to Infectious Disease Outbreak initiative. The Education and Research Centers/AFF Program (NIOSH) is funded at $24.226 million, the same as the FY13 level. We have not seen the report accompanying the bill yet, but understand that the AFF Program is also funded at the FY13 enacted level.
Pell Grants: The bill maintains the discretionary portion of the maximum Pell grant award level at $4,860 for the 2014/2015 school year but combined with the mandatory funding the maximum award will rise by $140 to $5,785.
Because the House of Representatives has yet to mark up its L-HHS-ED bill, it is impossible to provide a direct comparison. However, the House allocation is $121.8 billion, or 25.9 percent lower than the Senate level. The full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the L-HHS-ED bill on Thursday morning. We will pass along additional information about what is included in the bill once it is available.