Thursday, 16 March 2017 10:06

Public Policy Brief - March 16, 2017

Published in Policy Briefs

Administration News

The President's FY 2018 preliminary budget blueprint, "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," was posted this morning to the White House website. As is customary in the first year of a new administration, the blueprint only outlines a brief overview of the proposal, and details on the full budget are not expected until May. Information on proposals within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is included on pages 21 and 22 of the document and excerpts related to science and public health budgets are pasted in below.

The ASM will keep you posted as additional information becomes available.

Department of Health and Human Services
Recalibrates Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medical product user fees to over $2 billion in 2018, approximately $1 billion over the 2017 annualized CR level, and replaces the need for new budget authority to cover pre-market review costs.

Reduces the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) spending relative to the 2017 annualized CR level by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. The Budget eliminates the Fogarty International Center; consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH; and other consolidations and structural changes across NIH organizations and activities. The Budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalance Federal contributions to research funding.

Reforms key public health, emergency preparedness, and prevention programs. The Budget also creates a new Federal Emergency Response Fund to rapidly respond to public health outbreaks, such as Zika Virus Disease. The Budget also reforms the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a new $500 million block grant to increase State flexibility and focus on the leading public health challenges specific to each State.

Department Of State, USAID, and Treasury International Programs
Eliminates the Global Climate Change Initiative and fulfills the President’s pledge to cease payments to the United Nations’ (UN) climate change programs by eliminating U.S. funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.

Provides sufficient resources on a path to fulfill the $1 billion U.S. pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This commitment helps support Gavi to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children in low-resource countries and save millions of lives.

Provides sufficient resources to maintain current commitments and all current patient levels on HIV/AIDS treatment under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and maintains funding for malaria programs. The Budget also meets U.S. commitments to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria by providing 33 percent of projected contributions from all donors, consistent with the limit currently in law.

Department of Energy
Eliminates the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, the Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program because 20 Department of Energy the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.

Ensures the Office of Science continues to invest in the highest priority basic science and energy research and development as well as operation and maintenance of existing scientific facilities for the community. This includes a savings of approximately $900 million compared to the 2017 annualized CR level.

Environmental Protection Agency
Targets EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) at a level of approximately $250 million, which would result in a savings of $233 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. ORD would prioritize activities that support decision-making related to core environmental statutory requirements, as opposed to extramural activities, such as providing STAR grants.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Provides $1.8 billion for a focused, balanced Earth science portfolio that supports the priorities of the science and applications communities, a savings of $102 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. The Budget terminates four Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR 44 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder) and reduces funding for Earth science research grants.

Eliminates the $115 million Office of Education, resulting in a more focused education effort through NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Office of Education has experienced significant challenges in implementing a NASA-wide education strategy and is performing functions that are duplicative of other parts of the agency.

Department of Commerce
Zeroes out over $250 million in targeted National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant, which primarily benefit industry and State and local stakeholders. These programs are a lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.

Department of Agriculture
Continues to support farmer-focused research and extension partnerships at land-grant universities and provides about $350 million for USDA’s flagship competitive research program. In addition, the Budget focuses in-house research funding within the Agricultural Research Service to the highest priority agriculture and food issues such as increasing farming productivity, sustaining natural resources, including those within rural communities, and addressing food safety and nutrition priorities.

Department of the Interior
Provides more than $900 million for DOI’s U.S. Geological Survey to focus investments in essential science programs. This includes funding for the Landsat 9 ground system, as well as research and data collection that informs sustainable energy development, responsible resource management, and natural hazard risk reduction.

Capitol Hill News

Today the House Agriculture Committee, Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Next Farm Bill: Agriculture Research.”

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