In another political nailbiter, with less than 24 hours remaining before all federal government funding would expire and cause a government shut-down, the U.S. Senate cleared legislation last month to continue funding the federal government through March 11.
The temporary spending bill is the third such short-term funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2022, which officially began on October 1, 2021, and keeps the government operating at current funding levels. This time, however, the chairs and ranking members of the powerful House and Senate Appropriations Committees announced that they have struck an agreement on a large framework to start writing actual funding legislation for the rest of the fiscal year and expect to have an omnibus legislative package containing all twelve appropriations bills before the new March 11 deadline.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) indicated that the deal will pave the way for “the biggest increase in nondefense programs in four years.” Congressional staff familiar with the negotiations also leaked that the agreement is to have “parity” or equal increases for defense and nondefense spending. This is very hopeful news for Endocrine Society health-related programs, which all fall into the non-defense category not favored by Republicans.
Throughout the appropriations cycle, the Endocrine Society has been a vocal advocate for increased federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The NIH provides the largest source of federal funding for biomedical research and the CDC houses several diabetes and obesity prevention programs as well as bone and women’s health programs. The Society has met with congressional offices, testified before Congress, and conducted several grassroots campaigns educating Congress about the value of endocrine research and urging increases in endocrine-related programs. Most recently, the Society also coordinated efforts with other diabetes and research organizations to argue the importance of finalizing a final appropriations bill rather than rely on short-term measures. We also met with directors of individual NIH institutes to discuss priority areas for research support.
The next step after passage of a final omnibus appropriations process will be to start over with advocacy for FY 2023 appropriations, which the Society also plans to take a major role. For the latest details on federal funding, please visit: endocrine.org/advocacy.