An Update on the FY17 Budget

March 4, 2016

by Marisa Vertrees

Although we just finished up with FY16 budget negotiations, with a major budget deal finalized in December, it is budget season once again.  Under “normal order,” which we haven’t had for the last few years, the budget season begins in February with the President presenting his budget, after which Congress follows up with their own budget resolution.

While Congress is still debating their resolution for the year, the White House has released their proposal.  Here are the highlights for cancer prevention.

The Good:

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) receive a 2.6% increase. $680 million of that is for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, substantially increasing cancer research.  The Moonshot priorities include research into immunizations and additional methods for cancer screening and early detection.
  • A new $75 million is included to create an Oncology Center of Excellence at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), specifically focused on clinical trials and bringing effective cancer treatments to the market.
  • An additional $65 billion is allocated towards Veterans Affairs medical care, which includes treatments for hepatitis C. If left untreated hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, which you can learn more about from our Think About the Link™ campaign
  • There is a $402 million increase in money going towards the Indian Health Services in order to reduce health disparities.

The Bad

  • Most of the FDA funding is flat. There is new money for the Oncology Center for Excellence, but there is no additional funding for any other aspect of the FDA.
  • Funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) drops. Under the President’s proposal, the CDC’s funding drops by 3.6%.  The CDC is primarily responsible for implementing new prevention policies, and needs to see an increase in funding for new research to get to those who need it.
  • All of the Cancer Moonshot money comes from mandatory funds. This is both positive and negative-positive in that it gives long-term stability, but negative because any new mandatory money needs to be paid for by taking money from other parts of the budget.  The House and Senate have also been reluctant in recent years to pass mandatory increases, and it makes it less likely for them to approve the money.

Right now, the President’s budget is only a proposal, and the real decisions are still made by the House and the Senate, who haven’t released their proposals yet.  But this gives us an idea of what the White House wants to see in the negotiations.  We will be watching closely to see what the House and Senate do, and pressing for strong funding for the NIH, the FDA, and the CDC.

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