Congressional News

Congress Returns from Recess, Gets Moving on FY 2023 Budget Oversight

Congress returns this week from its two-week recess to a packed agenda. Oversight hearings on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request have begun in earnest, with Biden Administration officials appearing before House and Senate Committees throughout the week to defend the President’s funding priorities for next year. Reports indicate an ambitious timeline in the House for considering the FY 2023 appropriations bills. It has been reported that House leadership is looking to hold floor votes on as many FY 2023 bills as possible in July, meaning the House Appropriations Committee and various subcommittees will need to complete their…

Congress Continues to Hint at Upcoming Mental Health Package

On April 5, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health met to discuss legislation to support American mental health and well-being. The hearing, overseen by Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The hearing included two panels of experts. The first panel featured Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, and Administrator at…

Senate Discusses Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders, Hints at Bipartisan Legislation

On March 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss the national mental health and substance use disorder crisis and the federal programs being used to address these issues. The hearing, overseen by Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The witnesses present at the hearing were Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services…

Congress Finally Agrees on FY 2022 Funding, Mixed Bag for Science

Nearly six months into the new fiscal year, Congress has finally completed its work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, securing funding for federal departments, agencies, and programs through September 30, 2022. After months of stalemate and rocky negotiations, House and Senate leaders agreed to an overall FY 2022 framework that includes roughly equal increases to defense and non-defense funding, delivering a major win to Republicans who were pushing for parity throughout the process. The eleventh hour increase in defense spending in the final package resulted in smaller-than-expected increases to nearly all agencies and programs important to the…

Science Funding, Aid to Ukraine, and a Supreme Court Nomination

Congress will have its hands full over the coming weeks as lawmakers attempt to finish up fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills while also seeking emergency aid to Ukraine. Senators will have an especially busy schedule as they begin consideration of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. We are likely to see attempts to provide funding for Ukraine as part of a package that will also include the FY 2022 bills. As previously reported, Congress has until March 11 to complete the appropriations for the fiscal year that is nearly half over. The next few weeks will be critical for…

Congress Continues Focus on Mental Health in Subcommittee Hearing

On February 17, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the national mental health crisis and plans to address it. The hearing, overseen by Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), is the third Congressional hearing in the past month focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The witnesses present at the hearing were American Psychiatric Association member and vice-chair of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco Dr. Lisa Fortuna, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University Dr….

House Passes Innovation, NSF Legislation, Setting Stage for Negotiations with Senate

On February 4, the House of Representatives passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). The nearly 3,000-page package is the product of months of work across several House Committees on a suite of bills related to advancing the U.S. STEM enterprise and shoring up U.S. scientific competitiveness, especially with respect to China. The bill includes a range of provisions, including a reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF), research security directives, initiatives aimed at broadening participation in science, and combatting sexual and other forms of harassment. COSSA has…

FY 2022 Funding to be Delayed Until March 11

Congress has yet to enact final fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding legislation almost five months into the fiscal year. The federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution (CR) since October 1, 2021, which is set to expire this Friday, February 18. Last week, House and Senate leaders announced they had come to agreement on a framework that would allow lawmakers to complete work on the overdue annual spending bills. A new stopgap funding measure was passed by the House last week giving lawmakers until March 11 to complete their work. The Senate is seeking to pass the extension…

House Subcommittee Weighs Arguments for an Independent ARPA-H

On February 8, the Subcommittee for Health within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a hearing on the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) with a heavy focus of the discussion on the structure of the agency within the federal government. Among other issues, members of the Committee heard testimony on whether a DARPA-like research agency should be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as proposed by the Biden Administration or established as an independent agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Witnesses included Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and…

Congress Holds Hearings on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held hearings to discuss issues related to mental health, including youth mental health and substance use disorders. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy was the sole witness at the Finance Committee’s hearing, while the HELP Committee featured Chief Science Officer of the American Psychological Association Dr. Mitch Prinstein (a member of the COSSA Board of Directors), Vice Chair of Education in the Psychiatry Department at Boston Medical Center Dr. Michelle Durham, Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other…

House Introduces New Version of Sweeping Research and Innovation Bill; Vote Expected 

On January 25, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). As previously reported, House and Senate leaders have been working on innovation and competitiveness legislation for more than two years now. While the House’s approach has been to focus on shoring up the U.S. scientific enterprise through targeted investments in the National Science Foundation and other science agencies, the Senate’s focus has been more squarely on competing with China through investments in key technologies. This has made negotiations between the House and Senate challenging. The new House bill appears to be the…

Lawmakers Looking to Move Delayed FY 2022 Spending Bills; Feb 18 Deadline Looms

The current continuing resolution (CR) keeping the federal government open expires on February 18. Fiscal year (FY) 2022 began on October 1, 2021 without any of the 12 annual appropriations bills having been enacted into law. Reports indicate that House and Senate leadership are gauging the possibility of finalizing the FY 2022 spending measures before the CR deadline in just a couple weeks. The most likely outcome is a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill packaging all or some of the individual bills into a single measure. However, before that can happen, leaders must reach an agreement on top-line funding levels—that is,…

Senate Committee Releases Draft of Bipartisan Pandemic Preparedness Bill, Seeks Feedback

On January 25, Senate leadership from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) released a draft of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, a new piece of bipartisan legislation aimed at strengthening public health and pandemic preparedness responses, including research responses to COVID-19. The draft, which was jointly released by HELP Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), is currently structured in five parts: strengthening federal and state preparedness; improving public health preparedness and response capacity; accelerating research and countermeasure discovery; modernizing the supply chain for vital medical products; and enhancing development and combating shortages of medical…

Congress Starts 2022 with Packed To-Do List

The 117th Congress returned to work this month for its second session still struggling to resolve legislative issues meant for last year. As previously reported, while fiscal year (FY) 2022 began on October 1, 2021, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) late last year punting the annual appropriations deadline to February 18. That means, more than three months into the new fiscal year, federal agencies are operating at FY 2021 levels with no certainty of when they will receive their FY 2022 funding or what that funding will look like for this year. Among the reasons for the delay last…

Longtime Science Champion Eddie Bernice Johnson Enters Final Year in Congress

Late last year, House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) announced that she would retire from Congress at the end of her term. Johnson, who receive the COSSA Distinguished Service Award in 2016, has been one of the social science enterprise’s fiercest champions throughout her tenure on the Science Committee. She defended social and behavioral science grants from unwarranted attacks and championed legislation to advance the nation’s scientific enterprise as a whole. It is unclear who will succeed Johnson as the top Democrat on the Science Committee in the next Congress. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has seniority, but shakeups…

FY 2022 Bills Delayed until February, Build Back Better Act Inches Forward

On December 3, the House and Senate agreed to the terms of a second continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open and operating until February 18, 2022. Although fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began more than two months ago on October 1, Congress has yet to complete negotiations on any of its 12 annual appropriations bills. The latest CR kicks the can into next year, allowing lawmakers time to focus on other year-end priorities. COSSA’s full coverage of FY 2022 appropriations is available here. In the category of “must-pass” legislation are the annual defense authorization bill, which includes…

Infrastructure Bill Complete; Funding and Reconciliation Bills Remain

Congress has its work cut out for it as we head into the holiday season. With a limited number of working days left before the first session of the 117th Congress ends, time is short to pass a $2 trillion reconciliation package and complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills. Of course, this is the time of year when deals are struck and efforts that appeared out of reach only months ago somehow find the finish line, as we saw last week with the passage of sweeping infrastructure legislation. On November 5, the House of Representatives passed…

Senate Releases Remaining Draft Appropriations Bills, Setting Stage for FY 2022 Negotiations

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released drafts of nine of its annual appropriations bills. While fiscal year (FY) 2022 officially began on October 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee has so far this year only completed work on three of its FY 2022 bills; none of the Senate bills have yet been voted on by the full Senate. Last month, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open until December 3, providing additional time for both chambers to complete their work. Over in the House, the Appropriations Committee advanced all twelve of its annual spending bills…

ARPA-H Authorization Bill Introduced in the House

On October 15, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (H.R. 5585), a bill authorizing the agency that has been a key priority in the Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 (see previous coverage). Notably, the bill would not establish ARPA-H within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the White House and some appropriators in both chambers have proposed, but rather within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), setting up a potential conflict between appropriators and authorizers…

Rep. David Price, Longtime Social Science Champion, Announces Retirement

Representative David Price (D-NC), one of Congress’s only social scientists, announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022. Price was first elected to Congress in 1987 after serving as a professor of political science at Duke University and has been a vocal champion of federally funded research and the social and behavioral sciences in particular over the course of his more than 30 years in the House. He memorably rose to the defense of the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) after attempts to defund it in 2014. Price’s retirement will leave open a seat…

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