House Appropriations Committee Takes Steps to Move FY 2021 Federal Research Funding Forward
Bill to be Voted on in the House Prior to August Recess
The House Appropriations Committee has completed their part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Appropriations process this week by scheduling a series of markups on FY 2021 Appropriation Subcommittee bills, including the bill funding the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education and the Department of Defense (DoD). These two bills are expected to be considered the last week of July by the entire House of Representatives, possibly in the same mini-bus appropriations bill. SGO Legislative and Regulatory Taskforce and SGO Government Relations consultants were able to secure research funding priorities for gynecologic cancer in these two bills.
For the Department of Defense, the Ovarian Cancer Research Program will again be funded at $35 million for FY 2021 in the House Defense Appropriations. The SGO Legislative and Regulatory Taskforce will now turn their attention to the Senate where they hope progress will be made on the FY 2021 appropriations in September.
With the help of Rep. Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Taskforce has succeeded in getting endometrial cancer listed as an eligible cancer in the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, which the House Appropriators funded at $110 million.
Here is the status of other House Appropriations bills that might impact gynecologic cancer patients:
The Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill: This bill “increases discretionary funding by $2.4 billion above the 2020 level, investing in education, health care, medical research, and job training so people have a better chance at a better life; To rebuild this nation’s aged public health infrastructure and to improve preparedness for future public health threats, the bill provides $24.425 billion in emergency spending to support State and local public health departments, public health laboratories, and global health activities.”
National Institutes of Health (NIH): The bill provides a total of $47 billion for NIH, an increase of $5.5 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level. The bill provides $42 billion in annual appropriations, an increase of $500 million above the 2020 enacted level and $8.6 billion above the President’s budget request, as well as $5 billion in emergency appropriations. The bill’s language increases funding for each Institute and Center by no less than 7 percent to support a wide range of critical research on diseases and conditions that affect individuals and families all over the world with the emergency appropriations.
For the National Cancer Institute, the Committee recommendation for FY2021 is $6.49 billion, an increase of $53.7 million. If the emergency supplemental is also agreed to, NCI’s funding would go to $6.9 billion for FY 2021.
Based on research recommendations from SGO leaders, the Legislative and Regulatory Taskforce put forth under the NCI section report language that coupled together endometrial cancer research concepts and clinical trials. Below is the language included in the Labor, HHS Appropriations Report:
Endometrial Cancer: The Committee is concerned that both the incidence and mortality rates for endometrial cancer are rising, with a survival disparity for Black women. The Committee believes that a renewed emphasis by NCI on endometrial cancer research is needed to facilitate early detection and optimal treatments and outcomes for all women, including minority populations. The Committee urges NCI to study endometrial cancer disparities, including biologic differences in tumor type, molecular mechanisms, pathogenesis, and tumor microenvironment, and to conduct clinical trials to better define appropriate therapy for a precision medicine approach to endometrial cancer. The Committee requests an update on NCI’s activities regarding endometrial cancer in the fiscal year 2022 Congressional Justification, including progress made in incidence and survival rates by ethnicity.
There was also language included, possibly by the Appropriations Committee staff, directing the General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct a study reviewing the NCI Clinical Trials system regarding barriers to participation in federally-funded cancer clinical trials by populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in such trials, identify challenges, if any, in implementing such actions. The SGO will want to work with the GAO on this report to Congress.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is provided a total of $8 billion, an increase of $232 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. The bill provides $1 billion for chronic disease prevention and health promotion, including:
- $225 million for breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment
- $51.44 million for cancer registries
- $10 million for Johanna’s Law – gynecologic cancer public education
- $12 million for the Ovarian Cancer Control Program
The bill also includes $9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for CDC to improve the nation’s preparedness for public health emergencies.
There is more work ahead until the entire FY 2021 Appropriations is completed after the November election. The SGO Legislative and Regulatory Taskforce will continue to update members on the progress of their efforts.