A new year - 2018 - Advocacy News Update

  • Prior to adjourning for the holidays, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) for this fiscal year (FY 2018) to keep funding the government (at least until January 19th). The FY 18 fiscal year that began on October 1, 2017.
  • Capitol Hill will be bustling with activity where Members of Congress will be returning to a several unfinished issues. Many of these issues, including finalizing the FY 2018 appropriations process, will need to be resolved by January 19th in order to avert a possible government shutdown. 
  • Hopefully, the beginning of 2018 will involve House and Senate leaders coming together to finalize a bipartisan budget agreement.  An agreement should lay the groundwork for an “omnibus” appropriations bill to fund federal agencies for the rest of the FY 2018.
  • Policymakers are increasingly under pressure to reach a deal to increase the budget caps (for both defense and non-defense discretionary accounts) in order to prevent the automatic across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, that were put into place under a 2011 deficit-cutting law.
  • While Congressional leadership, as well as the White House, have been negotiating behind closed doors for weeks trying to lock down a two-year budget agreement that would cover the rest of the 2018 fiscal year, as well as fiscal 2019, an overall deal has remained elusive. Both parties agree that the spending caps should be raised, but they disagree over how much. Additionally, Democrats are insisting on matching any defense increase dollar-for-dollar with nondefense increases -- a formula that many Republicans reject.
  • We believe there is strong bipartisan support from our nation’s policymakers to provide the Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) with another $10 million in research funding, as well as the NIH with another $2 billion increase in FY 2018.
  • There are also many issues that are going to be part of the negotiations between now and January 19, including:
    • some measures to stabilize ObamaCare; 
    • DACA or “Dreamers” protections;
    • additional disaster relief for hurricane and wildfire victims; and
    • funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beyond March. 
    • (Thank you to the AACR for providing information included in this update)