To avoid a government shutdown, the House passed a stopgap funding bill on Sept. 19, that would fund the government through Nov. 21. The bill includes funding for several health extenders, including program funding for community health centers, graduate medical education, state health insurance and Medicaid funding for U.S. territories. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill by the end of the week and if passed, it will then be sent to the President’s desk for consideration. To fund the government through fiscal year (FY) 2020, Congress needs to complete the appropriations process before Nov. 21. Currently, both chambers still need to reach an agreement on all 12 appropriations bills. Although the House has passed several of its appropriations bills, they were completed before an agreement was reached on overall spending by President Trump and congressional leaders. The next step for congressional leaders is to reach an agreement that reflects the new spending levels that increased the spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.
AGA is keeping a close eye on how the rest of the appropriations process unravels, especially for federal research funding. Chairman Roy Blunt, R-MO, of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, reaffirmed the Senate’s commitment to innovative research funding by recommending an NIH budget of $42.1 billion, a 7.7 percent increase over FY2019. Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro of the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee also recommends a $2 billion increase for FY2020 NIH funding.
AGA endorses a funding increase of at least a $2 billion to ensure digestive disease research remains innovative and sustainable. NIH funding is vitally important to our profession and we need to continue to ensure that its funding remains sustainable.