Today, the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives released its fiscal 2017 spending proposal. The National Institutes of Health, which is funded by the Labor-H subcommittee, would receive a $1.25 billion, or nearly 4 percent, increase in FY17. Alzheimer’s research, the BRAIN initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative would receive significant funding from this bill. Of note, the Cancer Moonshot initiative was not specifically funded. The bill will be debated in the subcommittee on July 7.
Rescuing Biomedical Research strongly supports sustainable and predictable increases to the NIH budget. As a reminder, Congress added $2 billion to the NIH budget in FY16, and the U.S. Senate’s version of the Labor-H appropriations bill would add $2 billion, or over 6 percent, to the FY17 NIH budget. RBR encourages the House to increase its NIH funding level to that of the Senate and chart a path for long-term, sustainable and predictable increases for the agency.
Of note, the newly released FY17 Labor-H appropriations bill would block the Department of Labor from enforcing the Obama administration’s revision to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule. The rule would make anyone earning less than $47,476 per year, including postdoctoral scholars, eligible for overtime pay (Sec. 111). The administration has threatened to veto other legislation because it included language that alters or prevents implementation of the rule change, and this appropriations bill will likely face the same objection. RBR is in favor of increasing postdoc pay and would encourage the House to remove this rider from its appropriations bill.