House Energy and Commerce Committee Releases Second Version of 21st Century Cures Draft
On April 29, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations released the second iteration of the Committee’s 21st Century Cures bill (see Update, February 24, 2015). The latest draft is a collaborative effort by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), Energy and Commerce full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). The new version of the discussion draft would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three years (FY 2016 through FY 2018), and increase its funding level by…
Anti-Science COMPETES Bill Heads to House Floor
On April 23, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee passed along party lines (19 Republicans to 16 Democrats) the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806). According to Committee Chairman and sponsor of the legislation Lamar Smith (R-TX), H.R. 1806 is a “pro-science and fiscally responsible bill.” It prioritizes basic research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), while keeping funding levels within Congressionally-set discretionary spending limits. For NSF, the bill would increase funding for the Biological Sciences (BIO), Engineering (ENG), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and Computer…
House COMPETES Bill Targets Social Science
On April 15, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806). This is legislation to reauthorize the National Science Foundation (NSF). The bill is scheduled for a markup by the full House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Wednesday, April 22. While there are some noticeable changes from the bill that the scientific community rallied against last year (known as the FIRST Act), the new bill, authored by Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, continues to challenge the value of social and behavioral science research and restricts NSF’s ability to drive its own research agenda. COSSA strongly opposes…
Members of Congress Call for Increased FY 2016 Funding for NSF, International Education
In a March 24 letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, 136 members of the House of Representatives called for $7.724 billion in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fiscal year (FY) 2016, a funding level COSSA supports. The letter, which was organized by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV), states, “As our competitors across the globe invest in developing modern and inventive labor forces, our country will fall short if we fail to invest in research now. We must commit to strengthening our research capacities and prepare future generations to…
House Subcommittee Discusses CDC Budget; Director Questioned on Gun Violence, HIV/AIDS Research
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies met on March 25 to consider the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In attendance was CDC Director Thomas Frieden, accompanied by Beth Bell, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, and Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General and Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) praised the CDC in his opening statement for protecting public health in the U.S. and abroad. He…
House Panel Discusses Department of Education’s FY 2016 Budget Request
On March 4, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to discuss the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request for the Department of Education. Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) opened the hearing by noting the “education of America’s children is critical, not only to prepare them for the workforce, but to strengthen the economic health of our nation as a whole.” Cole noted that he also sits on the House Budget Committee and expressed his hope for a bigger deal between Congress and the Administration…
House Funding Panel Discusses NIH Budget
On March 3, National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins and five of the NIH’s 27 Institute and Center directors made their first appearance before the new chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS), Tom Cole (R-OK). Full Appropriations Committee chair Harold Rogers (R-KY) was also in attendance.
Senate HELP Committee Examines “U.S. Leadership in Medical Innovation”
On March 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its first in a series of anticipated hearings on “U.S. Leadership in Medical Innovation.” Opening the hearing, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that he and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) intend to focus on three major actions over the next two years: (1) “fixing” the No Child Left Behind Act; (2) simplifying and reauthorizing the federal government’s supervision of higher education in America; and (3) dealing with the “exciting new era of medicine.” Regarding the latter, Alexander noted that the House is moving on a…
House Funding Panel Discusses NSF Budget, Social Science Funding
On March 17, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) held a hearing to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The hearing featured testimony from NSF Director France Córdova.
Science Subcommittee Discusses FY 2016 NSF Budget, Social Science Funding
On February 26, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research Technology held an oversight hearing to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The hearing featured testimony from NSF Director France Córdova and Daniel Arvizu, Chairman of the National Science Board.
Congress Introduces Flurry of “Health” Bills
Over the last few months, a number of bills in support the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been introduced by members of the 114th Congress. These authorizing bills would address various aspects of NIH, including increasing the amount of funding that can be appropriated to it. Read on for details on the follow bills: 21st Century Cures Act Discussion Draft Accelerating Biomedical Research Act American Cures Act Medical Innovation Act Back to this issue’s table of contents.
21st Century Cures Act Discussion Draft Released
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) released a discussion draft of the 21st Century Cures Act on January 27. The draft bill is the culmination of a year of hearings and roundtable discussions held by the Committee. Its release was accompanied by a section-by-section discussion of the document and a one-pager highlighting the legislative ideas. The Committee has repeatedly stated that the draft is a “starting point in the legislative process to spur discussion.” Accordingly, they are seeking public feedback on the proposals. The Committee also cautioned that the “inclusion of a policy in the draft should…
Accelerating Biomedical Research Act Introduced in House and Senate
On January 26, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Brian Higgins (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) reintroduced the bipartisan Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (H.R. 531).The bill “would allow Congress to restore the purchasing power of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s funding to what it would have been if it had kept up with inflation since 2003.” It would create a new Budget Control Act cap adjustment for the agency. Any funding provided in excess of $29.4 billion would trigger a budget cap increase to accommodate the additional funding provided. The measure would allow appropriators to increase NIH funding by ten percent for the…
Medical Innovation Act Introduced in House and Senate
On January 29, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD.), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Medical Innovation Act (S.320), which is designed to increase “funding for critical medical research.” A companion bill, H.R. 744, was introduced in the House by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Kathy Castor (D-FL). According to the press release, the measure would require large pharmaceutical companies that break the law and settle with the federal government to reinvest a small percentage of their profits into the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and…
American Cures Act Introduced in Senate
On January 28, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the American Cures Act (S. 289). The bill would support research at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Health Program, and the Veterans Medical and Prosthetics Research Program. The measure is designed to set a steady growth rate in federal appropriations for biomedical research conducted at these agencies. Annually, the bill would increase funding for each agency and program at a rate of GDP-indexed inflation plus five percent. The “steady, long-term investment” provided by the legislation, if enacted, “would allow the agencies…
Senators Release Innovation for Healthier Americans Report, Request Feedback
On January 29, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Richard Burr (R-NC), released Innovation for Healthier Americans: Identifying Opportunities for Meaningful Reform to Our Nation’s Medical Product Discovery and Development. The report addresses challenges to getting safe treatments, devices, and cures to patients more quickly and effectively, looking specifically at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Congressional Committees Take Shape
Congressional committees with oversight for funding and policy issues impacting social and behavioral science have continued to take shape over the last few weeks. The 114th Congress was sworn in on January 6, though not all of the committees have officially chosen their chairs and ranking members. A number of committee organizational meetings are occurring this week, at which time the membership rolls and leadership appointments will be approved. You can stay apprised of the most current committee leadership appointments here. Back to this issue’s table of contents.
114th Congress Gavels In; Committee Leaders Appointed
The 114th Congress was officially sworn in on January 6. The new Congress includes a freshman class of 52 Representatives (36 Republicans and 16 Democrats) and 12 Senators (11 Republicans and 1 Democrat), as well as a new GOP majority in the Senate. The party split now stands at 246 Republicans to 188 Democrats (and 1 vacancy) in the House and 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 2 Independents in the Senate.
Congress passes FY 2015 Spending Bill, Adjourns for the Year
Congress adjourned this week for the remainder of 2014 after a busy, and often contentious, lame duck legislative session. Among its post-election activities was passage of a spending package for 11 of the 12 outstanding fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. The “cromnibus,” as it is being called inside the Beltway, was signed into law by President Obama on December 16. COSSA has prepared a full analysis of the spending package outlining its impact on social and behavioral science research programs funded across the federal government. Read on for full details. Back to this issue’s table of contents.
FY 2015 Funding Bills Approaching December 11 Deadline
As previously reported, the 113th Congress still has more work to do to complete the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations process before adjourning at the end of the month. At the time of this writing, negotiations between House and Senate appropriators and leadership continue, all working toward some form of final agreement to fund the federal government before the current temporary spending measure expires on December 11. Latest reports suggest that an omnibus appropriations bill that consolidates most of the 12 appropriations bills is still the preferred option, but a hybrid approach that includes an omnibus for some bills and…