Negotiations between the White House and the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives over raising the nation’s debt ceiling has stymied the annual budget and appropriations process on Capitol Hill. The House had previously announced subcommittee and full committee markups of its twelve annual appropriations bills, starting in May. Spending measures with favorable allocations and funding increases, such as the annual Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills, where scheduled to be marked up first with bill expected to face deep cuts, such as the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (L-HHS) appropriations measure, set to move forward at later (not yet announced) dates. However, progress between negotiators working on a fluid package to address federal spending, revenue, and raising the debt ceiling led to the postponement of all House appropriations activity.
If a deal is struck on the federal budget, it will likely have a direct impact on the annual appropriations measures and House and Senate appropriators will adjust their proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 spending measures accordingly. The Senate previously announced it would hold its subcommittee and full committee markups of FY 2024 spending measures beginning “in June”. With the U.S Treasury repeatedly warning that the nation could default on its debt obligations as soon as early June, the Senate markup schedule may not be impacted, but the clock is certainly ticking for debt ceiling negotiators to finalize the framework of any budget deal.
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has pushed froward with plans to hold a series of roundtable discussions and otherwise gather stakeholder input as it works to develop a 5-to-10-year research plan. To date, these discussions have almost exclusively focused on NCATS role in the rare disease space and efforts to advance treatment development for rare conditions. It is unclear how a forthcoming research plan will reconcile NCATS broad responsibilities in advancing clinical and translational science for the nation and all healthcare communities with its narrower roles in the rare disease space.
The Biden Administration officially nominated the Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, for ascension to the post of NIH Director. The NIH Director position requires Senate confirmation, and the political fight is expected to be more highly charged than previous NIH Director appointments. If confirmed, NIH would have a Director with a historically unique appreciation for the full spectrum of medical research.
By: Dane Christiansen, Washington Representative