HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ Senate Working to Move 2019 Health Spending Bill with Defense Omnibus
Senate Working to Move 2019 Health Spending Bill with Defense Omnibus

The Senate is moving forward with passing fiscal year 2019 spending bills. On August 1, the Senate passed a mini-omnibus spending measure composed of the FY2019 Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Housing and Transportation spending bills. The minibus included a $2.65 million funding increase for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research program (SRP), the first funding boost the program has received in several years. The SRP funds multi-disciplinary research on health and environmental issues related to hazardous exposures. Senate Republican leaders have indicated that they intend to begin votes on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 health research and services spending bill, known as the Labor-HHS bill, as soon as August 15 as part of an omnibus measure that includes the FY2019 Defense spending bill.  At this point, the Senate is planning to take a one-week recess the week of August 6, returning to Capitol Hill August 13 for a two-week session and then recess until after Labor Day.

The Senate FY2019 Labor-HHS bill proposes a $2 billion funding increase over current funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the further the Senate bill advances, the better the chance that Congress will enact this funding increase for NIH, rather than the House Labor-HHS spending bill’s lesser $1.250 billion NIH funding increase. The Senate bill’s increase would put FY2019 NIH funding at $39.3 billion, up from FY2018 funding of $37.3 billion.

On the House of Representatives side, the Labor-HHS spending bill has been placed on the House floor calendar for action but we don’t expect any floor action until the fall. Meanwhile, President Trump reversed his previous position against a government shutdown, indicating this week that he may push for a government shutdown after the November mid-term elections if his proposal for a border wall isn’t fully funded before the end of 2018.

Last Reviewed: August 3, 2018