Congress is working swiftly to enact a continuing appropriations resolution (CR) before the October 1st start of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (and before adjourning to campaign throughout October). Lawmakers plan to use the additional time allowed by the CR to finalize the FY 2023 appropriations bills, likely moving to pass any bill(s) during the “Lame Duck” session following the November elections. The CR is expected to be light on policy riders, and while it should include supplement emergency funding for Ukraine, it is not expected to include additional requested funding for the ongoing COVID response. Due to the large funding increases for medical research and public health programs funding in the current FY 2023 bills, the community continues to engage Capitol Hill to ensure legislators understand the importance of finalizing and enacting the pending bills as quickly as possible (and certainly before the current Congress adjourns at the end of December).
Congress is also working to pass a reauthorization of user-fees for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before October 1st. Earlier in the year, the House and Senate had each outlined ambitious proposals to modernize FDA and launch new initiatives. However, with time running out, it is likely that Congress will only be able to pass as a “clean” reauthorization light on new efforts, and that any reauthorization will likely be tied in with the CR. One of the items that Congress hoped to address through the FDA bill was the location of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), both within the government and within the country. It is unclear how Congress will move the ARPA-H reauthorization forward and reconcile any outstanding items, but this will remain a priority in the Lame Duck session.
While Congress is still working to authorize ARPA-H and provide FY23 funding, White House has announced that the first Director of ARPA-H will be Dr. Renee Wegryn. ARPA-H was modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), two entities that Dr. Wegryn has extensive experience working within. The community continues to look to the administration for announcements on the next NIH and NCATS Directors.