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  • Writer's pictureAssociation of Academic Physiatrists

December 2020 Update

House and Senate appropriations leaders are negotiating spending levels for all 12 FY 2021 appropriations bills as the December 11th continuing resolution (CR) deadline approaches. Leaders from both the House and Senate have provided hope that an agreement on spending levels can be reached and that they would prefer to pass an omnibus appropriations bill rather than another CR. In early November, the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee released their FY 2021 spending bill, which included a total of $43.684 billion for The National Institutes of Health, a $2 billion (4.8%) increase over the FY 2020 level. The House of Representatives passed its FY 2021 Labor-HHS spending bill in July, including $47 billion for NIH in FY 2021, as well as $5 billion in emergency appropriations available through FY 2025.

Highlights of the Senate appropriations bill include:

  • $2,262,915,000 for the Administration for Community Living;

  • $645,237,000 for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases;

  • $156,823,000 for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [NCCIH];

  • $4,000,000 for the Limb Loss program, which supports programs and activities to improve the health of people with limb loss and promote their well-being, quality of life, prevent disease, and provide support to their families and caregivers. Maintaining these programs is critical to support independent living within the disability community across their life course;

  • $11,321,000 for the Traumatic Brain Injury program, which supports implementation and planning grants to states for coordination and improvement of services to individuals and families with traumatic brain injuries. Such services can include pre-hospital care, emergency department care, hospital care, rehabilitation, transitional services, education, employment, long-term support, and protection and advocacy services;

  • $114,470,000 for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research;

  • $800,000,000 for the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research account, which is equal to the FY 2020 enacted level and $13,000,000 above the budget request.

Congress will adjourn the 116th session at the end of the year and begin its new session in January. The new makeup of Congress could remain the same for the 117th session. Control of the U.S. Senate is likely to remain with Republicans having only lost two sitting senators while defending 23 seats. Both Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) face run-off elections on January 5, 2021 having failed to receive more than 50% of the vote. Republicans will need to win at least one of the two Georgia seats to retain control, as a 50/50 split gives the Democrats the majority with Vice-President Elect Harris casting the important tie-breaking vote. While Democrats are expected to maintain control of the House of Representatives, the GOP was able to considerably shrink the majority. At least seven incumbent House Democrats lost their seats, while no incumbent Republican lost to-date. Several keys races remain undecided, but Democrats will have a very thin majority for the 117th Congress.

Update provided by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

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