Congressional Corner




July 20, 2017

House Appropriations Bill Markup 
On July 19, the full House appropriations committee considered and passed the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies fiscal year 2018 spending bill during markup. The $156 billion bill includes increases in funding for NIH and eliminates funding for Title X and the Teen Pregnancy Program, among other programs. According to CQ Healthbeat, a manager’s amendment agreed to by voice vote at the outset of the markup contained a variety of non-controversial changes, including some funding tweaks for health programs, including:

  • $6 million additional funds for CDC to spend on transmissible diseases that can cause brain damage, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
  • A designation of $1 million for screening and treatment of maternal depression, taken from a $100 million HHS grant program for communities with high rates of infant mortality.
  • An extra $10 million for an HHS Community Service Block Grant, bringing its total to $617.5 million.

No plans have been announced to bring the bill to the floor. Senate action on their version of the bill is expected in September.

Health Reform 
The Senate’s version of ACA repeal and replace has stalled due to a lack of support to move past a procedural vote to open debate on the bill. As of July 20, it appears the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed with the House-passed repeal and replace bill next week. However, the Senate’s efforts around repealing and replacing ACA remain fluid. ASTHO continues to monitor these developments and will update accordingly.

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Spending Approved 
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved by a vote of 16-15 allocations for the 12 spending bills under the committee’s jurisdiction. The panel adopted its allocations at the fiscal year 2017 funding level of $1.07 trillion in base discretionary funding, with $104 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

Allocations for the following committees of interest include:

  • Labor-HHS-Education — $164.06 billion, a $3.04 billion increase from fiscal year 2017 enacted levels.
  • Agriculture — $20.52 billion, a $352 million decrease from fiscal year 2017 enacted levels.
  • Interior-Environment — $32.03 billion, a $250 million decrease from fiscal year 2017 enacted levels.

House Budget Resolution Approved in Committee 
On July 19, the House Budget Committee passed their FY18 budget for consideration by the full House. Included in the bill are limits on discretionary spending for FY18, with $511 billion for nondefense discretionary and $621.5 billion for base discretionary defense programs. Additionally, the House budget resolution calls for $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs. It is unclear when or if the bill can pass the full House. ASTHO will continue to monitor its progress.

FDA Funds Available for Food Safety in States 
Yesterday, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of FDA, announced funding awards to states for FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Implementation. “This new law is transforming our food safety system from one that responds to contamination to one that prevents it in the first place,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “This change cannot happen without the support of our state partners who are helping food producers and growers understand and achieve the new requirements promulgated at Congress’ direction. These state partnerships are critical to our commitment to take an efficient and risk-based approach to the implementation of these new authorities. They help FDA provide education and training to the agriculture community and facilitate compliance. These efforts ultimately ensure that our food is safe no matter where it’s produced.”

Additional information on state awardees can be found here.