HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ House and Senate Move to Reconcile 2019 Health Spending Bill
House and Senate Move to Reconcile 2019 Health Spending Bill

This week, congressional leaders announced the creation of a joint House and Senate conference committee, formed to iron out differences between the Senate-passed fiscal year (FY) 2019 health spending bill and the House’s version of the bill. The Senate bill includes a $2 billion funding increase for the NIH while the House bill includes a $1,250 billion increase for the agency, although the House Appropriations Committee has expressed support for the Senate’s funding level for NIH. The Senate health spending bill would set FY2019 NIH funding at $39.1 billion.

Following finalization by the House-Senate conference committee, the FY2019 health spending omnibus is expected to continue to move as part of an omnibus package of several 2019 spending bills, including the Defense spending bill. All annual spending bills must either be passed by each chamber of Congress by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2018, or Congress must pass a short-term measure to keep government programs running. Congress now has just eight days to accomplish this, which is a tall task, especially in an election year. It is also unclear at this point whether President Trump will sign an omnibus or a short-term measure into law if the package does not include border wall funding. Congressional leaders met with the President this week to urge him to postpone any such standoffs until after the November election.

Although the final path and outcome of all FY2019 spending bills is unclear in this election year, the Senate’s action and strong bipartisan support for NIH in both chambers make it likely at this point that the $2 billion NIH increase will be enacted.

Last Reviewed: September 7, 2018