Senate Appropriations Committee approves $30.95 billion for NIH for FY 2014

On July 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Labor-HHS-Education and related agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) appropriations bill, which includes $30.95 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  While the funding level falls just short of President Obama’s $31 billion FY 2014 request for NIH, it is a $307 million increase over FY 2013 funding before sequestration and allows for the NIH to contribute $40 million to the new Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The bill provides the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which supports innovative research for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, $1.63 billion for FY 2014, roughly $100 million above FY 2013 funding before sequestration.  It also includes $50 million, five times more than the FY 2013 level, for the Cures Acceleration Network, an NIH initiative to help speed translation and application of discoveries in biomedical research.

Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) noted his support for increased NIH funding as the bill moved through the Committee process and was joined by Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee ranking member Jerry Moran (R-KS) who said that funding for biomedical research was a “necessary and worthy investment.”

Overall, top-line spending for the Senate FY 2014 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill is set at $164.33 billion, which is almost $8 billion more than enacted in FY 2013 before sequestration and is over $42 billion more than recommended by the House.  Senate leaders are hoping to hold a floor vote on the bill before the August recess.  The House Appropriations Committee has yet to take up its version of the Labor-HHS-Education bill, and the legislation’s prospects in the lower chamber remain unclear.

While the House and Senate both intend to hold votes on their respective appropriations bills, they remain $91 billion apart in total spending – meaning that it is unlikely that they will come together to resolve all FY 2014 government spending before the new fiscal year begins October 1.  Most experts do not believe that an agreement on spending will be reached until later this fall, at the earliest.

PAN will continue to engage with elected officials and their staff about the importance of preserving and strengthening federal biomedical research funding at the NIH – and this August, we encourage you to help us and the Parkinson’s community by delivering that same message to your Members of Congress.

Date originally posted:  July 12, 2013.