House LHHS Subcommittee Holds Budget and Oversight Hearing on NIH, CDC, and ASPR
On April 19, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a budget and oversight hearing on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) fiscal year (FY). Testifying about the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget requests for their respective agencies were Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC; the Honorable Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of ASPR; and Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Acting Director of NIH.
Chairman Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL) expressed concerns over the President’s budget request (see COSSA’s analysis), criticizing the inclusion of funds for climate change and gun research, and the sexual and gender minority office within the NIH (see previous COSSA coverage). Other Republican members voiced concerns about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and protecting domestic research from foreign competitors. To this end, Dr. Tabak confirmed that while there is no research being conducted on the origins of the coronavirus, the NIH has experts in virus origins that can be called upon when necessary, and that the NIH is committed to protecting domestic research while promoting collaboration with international allies. Chairman Aderholt also expressed concerns about the projected flexibility of the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) while voicing support for the funding levels proposed.
Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) commended the Administrations’ funding proposal for its emphasis on modernization as well as its commitment to addressing health disparities. She expressed concerns about the GOP’s proposed budget cuts to health agencies, including the NIH, CDC, and ASPR, noting that the cuts would disproportionately impact elderly, veteran, and rural communities (see related article). Dr. Tabak cited that upwards of 5,000 research grants would be cut if the proposed cuts were made, likely decreasing the number of early career professionals interested in pursuing health research.
A recording of the hearing, along with the opening statements of the Assistant Secretary O’Connell, Dr. Tabak, Dr. Walensky, and Chairman Aderholt are available on the Appropriations Committee’s website. Ranking Member DeLauro’s opening statement is available on the Appropriations Committee Democrat’s website.