Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Benjamin Krinsky
Thursday, October 18, 2018

NIH FY 2019 Appropriations Completed; NSF, USDA Subject to CR; Spending Negotiations to Resume after Elections

On September 28, President Trump signed H.R. 6157 into law, a combined Labor, Health and Human Services and Education/Defense (Labor-H/DoD) “minibus” appropriations measure that finalizes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for fiscal year (FY) 2019. This marks the first time in 22 years that the NIH budget has been completed prior to the start of the fiscal year. As expected, the measure funds NIH at $39 billion, an increase of $2 billion over FY 2018 funding; it passed the House by a vote of 361-61 and the Senate 93-7.

As of October 1, spending measures have passed that cover five of 12 FY2019 appropriations bills, representing 75 percent of all annual federal discretionary funding. In addition to NIH, scientific programs with finalized FY 2019 budgets include the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE SC) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical and Prosthetic Research Program (see table below).

To keep the rest of the government operating, the Labor-H/DoD minibus also includes a continuing resolution (CR) to fund other programs not covered by the finalized FY2019 appropriations minibuses. The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill, which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF), is included in the CR, and will maintain NSF at FY2018 spending levels until December 7.

Congress could not reach an agreement on either the CJS or Homeland Security funding bills before the fiscal year’s end because these measures fund several “hot button” programs. They include fights over immigration, climate change research, the Russian election interference investigation, and the White House’s demand to fund construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Programs included in the Interior-Environment/ Financial Services/ Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development/USDA-FDA minibus will also be funded by the CR for the time being. Negotiations over this minibus reportedly stalled because of differences in Financial Services provisions passed by each chamber. House and Senate appropriators are likely to resume negotiations for the outstanding spending measures when Congress reconvenes for its “lame-duck” session after the November mid-term elections.