July 2, 2024

House FY 2025 Labor-HHS Spending Bill Calls for “Largest Restructuring of NIH in a Generation”

On June 25, House appropriators released the fiscal year (FY) 2025 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill. The bill contains several troubling provisions for the U.S. research enterprise.

Within the bill, the Committee provides $107 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), $8.5 billion (7%) below the FY 2024 level and $14 billion below the President’s budget request. Among the provisions in the legislation, the bill calls for funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), eliminates funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and provides flat funding of $48 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Additionally, and notably, the bill calls for “the largest restructuring of NIH in a generation,” proposing consolidating NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers into 15. While not referenced in the House Appropriations Committee’s summary, this proposed restructuring mirrors a recent proposal from House Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers to reform the NIH. The Energy & Commerce proposal includes moves, such as combining the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) into a new National Institute for Disability Related Research. It does not address plans related to NIH Offices, including the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and the Office of Autoimmune Disease Research (OADR).

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is deeply concerned that the Labor-HHS bill incorporates policy to restructure the NIH without hearings, data, and review of the impact on biomedical research. A restructuring of this magnitude should be done by an authorizing body through an open, transparent process that includes input from a variety of stakeholders and follows a thorough review of NIH operations and portfolios.

In response to this bill, SWHR has worked with a few colleagues in the scientific community to put together a sign-on letter to House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro expressing concern over the cuts to public health and biomedical research programs and alarm over the inclusion of the policy to restructure NIH.

Any national nonprofit organization, medical or professional association, or academic institution wishing to sign onto this letter can do so by completing this Google Form by Monday, July 8. No individual signatures, please. A link to the letter can be found within the form.

For questions, please reach out to SWHR Chief Advocacy Officer Lindsey Miltenberger.