Monday, 01 May 2017 09:44

Public Policy Brief - May 1, 2017

Published in Policy Briefs

Capitol Hill

Omnibus Funding Bill Agreed To
House and Senate Appropriations committees unveiled the text of an FY 2017 omnibus spending bill of more than $1 trillion to fund the government for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year. The bill is expected to pass this week. The legislation (HR 244) comprises the 11 unfinished fiscal 2017 appropriations bills, providing fresh spending instructions for the federal government. Highlights of the bill include:

  • National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion funding increase, 6.2 percent over current funding;
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gets a $22 million increase to $7.3 billion. The agency would get $6.3 billion in appropriated funds and $891 million in transfers from the Prevention and Public Health Fund;
  • Food and Drug Administration budget would take a modest cut for the remainder of fiscal 2017, decreasing spending by about $25 million compared to the fiscal 2016 levels;
    • Most of that cut in the omnibus spending bill is attributable to a decrease in the money the FDA collects from the drug and medical device industries, which would drop by about $65 million, from $1.96 billion to $ 1.89 billion. That amount is negotiated in advance and spread out over a five-year period.
    • Discretionary funding for FDA was increased by about $39 million for the overall fiscal year, for a total of almost $2.8 billion. Most of the increase was authorized by last year’s “21st Century Cures” law, with $30 million of the $39 million already included in the stopgap spending bill (PL 114-254) that passed in December.
    • The accompanying committee report said that most of the cuts would be absorbed by administrative savings and that the FDA should continue with “all projects, activities, laboratories, and programs” included in fiscal 2016.
    • The bill prohibits the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the FDA finalizes labeling guidelines for the food.
  • National Science Foundation would recieve $7.5 billion – $9 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level;
  • The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would receive $2.1 billion, a $17 million increase over fiscal 2016;
  • DOE’s Office of Science would receive $5.4 billion, up $42 million over fiscal 2016;
  • DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program would receive $306 million, up $15 million over fiscal 2016;
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration is funded at $19.7 billion in the bill, $368 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This funding includes:
    • $5.8 billion for NASA Science programs – $176 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This targets funding to planetary science, including the Europa and Mars missions, and heliophysics to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs
  • Agricultural Research – The bill provides $2.89 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This funding will support research to help mitigate and stop devastating crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, increase production, and combat antimicrobial resistance. This funding also includes important research investments in U.S. land-grant colleges and universities. Included in this level is a $25 million increase for USDA’s premier competitive research program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The bill also includes $5 million for a pilot program to enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The legislation includes $949 million for Animal and Plant Health.