Last week, the Senate passed by a vote of 93-7 an appropriations ('spending') conference bill package that was agreed to by both chambers to fund the Pentagon and the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services and Education.
Today, the House passed an identical bill by a vote of 361-61. This was the second of three funding bills to pass both chambers. This bill now goes to the President for signature, veto or pocket veto.
The total price tag is an $854 billion spending bill that helps avoid a government shutdown This is more than 70% of our discretionary spending and is a big deal. It is the first time in over 15 years that the bills were passed on time, (according to 'Regular Order'). The bill now goes to the President's desk for signature (possibly tomorrow) and he has signaled he is willing to sign it into law.
This is great for the kidney cancer community for two reasons.
Deep within the Defense Department portion of the bill is the Defense Health Program which funds various medical research initiatives including kidney cancer.
Through the efforts of many of us, the inaugural Kidney Cancer Research Program was signed into law last year with a funding level of $10 million. Advocacy efforts and countless DC visits over the past year resulted in a $5 million annual increase for FY'18 and just today another $5 million annual increase to $20 Million for FY'19.
Today's package included appropriations, which fully funded, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education for fiscal 2019. The bill included a $2 Billion increase for the NIH (and a significant increase for the National Cancer Institute) and showcases Congress’s ongoing commitment to medical research in which funding advances science, innovation, and economic growth.
It is important to highlight several of the Congressional champions in the House. In particular, House Appropriations Committee leadership, including Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.), for their longstanding support for the CDMRP program, including the KCRP and for increased funding for the NIH and the National Cancer Institute.
In the Senate, Senator's Shelby, Blunt, Durbin and Murray were instrumental in getting this legislation passed.
If you live in any of these representatives districts, please contact their offices and thank them for their support for medical research and for providing hope to the kidney cancer community.