HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ Senate Passes 2019 Health Spending Bill with NIH Funding Increase
Senate Passes 2019 Health Spending Bill with NIH Funding Increase

This week, the Senate passed the fiscal year (FY) 2019 health spending bill as part of an omnibus measure with the Department of Defense spending bill by a vote of 93 - 7. The health spending measure, known as the Labor-Health and Human Services bill (Labor-HHS), includes a $2 billion funding increase for the NIH, which would set FY2019 NIH funding at $39.1 billion. The bill includes a short-term spending measure to fund agencies in the seven remaining annual spending bills that have not been agreed to (FDA, State, EPA, Homeland Security, etc.) until Dec. 7.  The package does not include any policy riders on clean air, tobacco or the Affordable Care Act and now awaits passage in the House of Representatives next week.

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.  At this point, the Labor-HHS/Defense package is expected to pass the House, albeit with some opposition from house conservatives.  

Soon after the Senate passed the bill, the President began criticizing the measure for not including funding for his desired southern border wall. Congressional appropriators hope to put off debate and decisions on the border wall until after the mid-term election. Border wall funding is contained in the Homeland Security bill—one of the seven bills included in the short-term measure. There are no specific presidential veto threats yet, but this could change between now and the end of next week. Currently, most Congressional observers believe Congress and the President will avoid a government shutdown in the near-term but there remains an element of uncertainty and a potential for a shutdown after the November midterm elections.

Last Reviewed: September 21, 2018