Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Small Cuts to IES, Boost to NIH in LHHS Bill
 
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June 2016

For the first time in seven years, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill this month. The $161.9 billion bill for the 2017 fiscal year (FY) is a net reduction of $270 million from FY 2016.

The bill includes $67.8 billion to the U.S. Department of Education, a $220 million reduction from FY 2016.  The bill cuts the Institute of Education Sciences by $5.5 million (1 percent) from the FY 2016 level of $618 million. The majority of the programs within IES were flat funded at FY 2016 levels. Funding for research, development, and dissemination was decreased by $5 million while funding for the National Assessment Governing Board was cut by $490,000.

This year the accompanying report to the appropriations bill included language encouraging the department to “ensure that its employees, contractors, and grantees, including states that receive funds from Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants, adhere to the strictest and highest standards for protecting PII (personally identifiable information).”

The appropriations bill boosts funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion. As part of the proposed increase, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) would receive nearly $1.4 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent over FY 2016. The bill would also increase spending for the Office of the Director, which houses the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, to $1.73 billion, an increase of 11 percent.

The House Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee has yet to introduce a bill. The House had been expected to consider the LHHS bill either the last week of June or the second week of July—but that was before the House Democrats organized a sit-in over gun control legislation that sent the House out on an early recess until July 5. Despite activity on appropriations bills in both chambers, there is a widespread assumption that Congress will not pass a FY 2017 budget before the election, and instead will pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running into either a lame duck session or the next administration. 

 
 
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