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July/August 2015
House, Senate Committees Recommend 2016 Funding to Address Antibiotic Resistance
Annual Appropriations Process Breaks Down as Leaders Clash over Sequestration

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved spending bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, which begins on October 1.  Despite a challenging fiscal environment, the bills propose increasing support for the National Institutes of Health and other IDSA priority areas, including implementation of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

The House bill proposes:
  • $31.2 billion (+3%) for the National Institutes of Health
  • $100 million increase for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) component of the president’s antibiotic resistance (AR) initiative  
  • $120 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new AR Solutions Initiative
  • $30 million to further develop the CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Initiative
  • Level-funding at $415 million for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
Despite apparent steps forward for AR, the House bill includes proposals that would be significant setbacks, such as elimination of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and a reduction in the NIH extramural salary cap from Executive Level II (currently $183,300) to III ($168,700).

The Senate’s health spending bill proposes:
  • $32.1 billion (+6%) for the National Institutes of Health
  • $100 million increase for the NIAID component of the Administration’s AR initiative
  • $30 million for the new CDC AR Solutions Initiative
  • $30 million for AMD
  • $473 million (+14%) for BARDA
The Senate bill retains AHRQ but reduces its funding by 35%.  The bill also proposes a cut of $32 million or 20% from the CDC Division of STD Prevention.  The Senate bill maintains the NIH extramural salary cap at Executive Level II.

After committee approval of these bills, the appropriations process largely stalled over disagreement on how to deal with a return of the full impact of sequestration (automatic, arbitrary and across-the-board budget cuts that began in 2013 to control spending), which is slated for FY 2016.  Democrats in Congress and the White House have promised that the appropriations process will go no further until an agreement is reached to raise the federal spending cap for FY 2016, as was done for FY 2014 and 2015 in exchange for an extension of spending caps an additional two years into FY 2022 and 2023.  As the new fiscal year approaches, Congress will likely pass a temporary funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, that will keep federal agencies open and operating at the previous year’s spending level until an agreement on sequestration can be achieved.  However, the possibility of a government shutdown remains, particularly if no progress is made towards a deal on sequestration.

As the start of the fiscal year approaches, IDSA will continue to engage Congress and the Administration on the budget. We’ll need your help, so look for email advocacy alerts in September.

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