October 20, 2021

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Nine Remaining Fiscal Year 2022 Spending Bills

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Monday released the draft text of the nine remaining fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill that has jurisdiction over several federal health research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Labor-HHS bill would provide $47.9 billion for the NIH, which includes $45.5 billion for the NIH base budget (a $2.6 billion increase over FY 2021) and $2.4 billion for President Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, which is intended to accelerate the pace of breakthroughs in medicine. As noted in the Committee-prepared highlights, “With this investment, the bill will provide [NIH] a 58 percent increase over the past seven years.” The House of Representatives, which passed its FY 2022 Labor-HHS spending bill in July, provided a $3.5 billion increase for the NIH base budget, as well as a $3 billion investment for ARPA-H.

Notable for women’s health and women’s health research, the Senate bill provides the following:

The bill also address high levels of maternal mortality in the United States, which disproportionately impact women of color. Specifically, the bill proposes $237 million to combat maternal mortality (a $170 million increase), which includes:

Within its explanatory statement, the Senate Appropriations Committee also encourages NIH Institutes and Centers, in coordination with the NIH Office of the Director and ORWH, to support research that “studies how sex as a biological variable, gender as a social element, and race/ethnicity variables impact short and long-term outcomes due to infection with SARS-Cov-2.”

Finally, the bill includes $9.73 billion, a $1.85 billion increase over FY 2021 levels, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the largest increase in budget authority provided to the agency in nearly two decades. Included in the increase is $600 million in new flexible funding for public health infrastructure and capacity for CDC and state and local governments to rebuild and strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity so they can respond to emerging health threats.

The funding bills, released six weeks before Congress’ next shutdown deadline of December 3, are considered dead on arrival in the Senate, which Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) says “fails to give equal consideration to our nation’s defense.” According to Politico, both Democratic and Republican aides have warned that failure to reach an agreement on the annual spending bills will likely result in a one-year stopgap measure that keeps spending at current levels and would deny any significant funding boosts for agencies.

For more information, view the Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY 2022 Labor-HHS bill text, explanatory statement, and bill summary.

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