August 2, 2021

House Passes FY 2022 Spending Bill for HHS, Other Agencies

By Lindsey Horan, SWHR Chief Advocacy Officer 

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday—on a 219 to 208 vote—passed H.R. 4502, a seven-bill spending package containing the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Military, Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bills.

Within the Labor-HHS bill—which contains funding for several key federal research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)—the Committee provides $49 billion for NIH, a $6.5 billion increase above the FY 2021 enacted level. Of the $6.5 billion increase, $3 billion is dedicated to the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)—which would be tasked with building high-risk, high-reward capabilities or platforms to drive biomedical breakthroughs—and $3.5 billion will serve as an increase for the agency’s core funding, with an increase of no less than 5 percent for each Institute and Center.

Among the most notable NIH provisions for women’s health research in the bill, the Committee provides:

The Labor-HHS report, which provides more detailed guidance to departments and agencies, contains language pertaining to uterine fibroids, research in pregnant and lactating women, and population research. Excerpts from the report language on these areas are as follows:

Outside of the Labor-HHS bill, the Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA funding bill report language notes the importance of the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical trials:

“The Committee is concerned with the underrepresentation of women and minorities in clinical trials. The Committee is aware of the ongoing work that FDA is doing towards efforts to address this underrepresentation, in particular, its work on greater participation of female mice, inclusion of women and minorities in population studies, representational data on differences in female and male responses to medications, including sex-specific biomarkers in simulation models, and transparency in addressing biological differences. The Committee requests not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act a briefing on FDA’s efforts in this space.” – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2021 Report

As of July 30, the House has passed 9 of the 12 annual spending bills. With many of the House bills passed, attention now turns toward the Senate, which will develop its own spending bills for FY 2022. Lawmakers must come to an agreement on FY 2022 funding by the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Barring agreement, lawmakers will need to either pass a funding extension or risk a government shutdown.

The Society for Women’s Health Research was pleased that the House, through this legislation, demonstrated its commitment to women’s health research and encourages the House and Senate to work together to ensure that final spending legislation also prioritizes funding for women’s health research. SWHR stands ready to assist lawmakers in their efforts.

For questions, please contact SWHR Chief Advocacy Officer Lindsey Horan.