The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, on an omnibus spending bill that would fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at $8.5 billion and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at $3.317 billion, provide another round of COVID-19 medical assistance, and fund the government through September 2022.
The long-awaited package (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 HR 2471) for fiscal year (FY) 2022, which began in October 2021 and is nearly one half over, would provide about $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending for all federal departments and agencies. It also resolves a monthslong partisan standoff over how to divvy up the budget pie among defense and nondefense programs.
According to a summary from House Appropriations Committee Democrats, defense-related spending would increase by $42 billion (5.6%) over last year’s level to $782 billion. Nondefense spending would increase by $46 billion (6.7%) to $730 billion.
The 2,741-page bill, the result of weeks of hard bargaining, was unveiled in the early hours of Wednesday, March 9—barely 3 days before current stopgap funding (PL 117-86) will expire.
“I am so proud of this government funding legislation, which delivers transformative federal investments to help lower the cost of living for working families, create American jobs, and provide a lifeline for the vulnerable,” House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said in a statement.
The bill provides the following funding:
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would get $108.3 billion from this bill. The biggest increases include a $2.25 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and a $194 million increase for the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Defense spending also saw a boost in funding.
- The new pandemic money would include $10.6 billion to finance vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, along with developing medical countermeasures against new variants. It would also funnel $4.45 billion to help other countries combat the pandemic with vaccines and therapeutics.
- The bill would fund CDC at $8.5 billion, an increase of $582 million from FY 2021, which would include $903 million in funds transferred from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. It would also provide money for the prevention of future disease outbreaks.
- The National Center for Environmental Health within CDC would receive an increase to $209 million in FY 2022, an increase of $4 million over FY 2021.
- The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund would receive $3.2 billion, an increase of $352 million from 2021 levels.
- FDA will receive investments to ensure the country’s food and medical supplies remain the safest in the world. The bill provides a net increase of $102 million for FDA for a total of $3.317 billion. Included in this amount is $29.5 million for food safety activities, $41.3 million for crosscutting initiatives, and $2.4 million for infrastructure investments. The bill also includes an increase of $8 million to continue FDA’s work on combatting the opioid crisis.
Clearing the evenly divided Senate will be more difficult for the bill because unanimous consent is required to speed up the voting. In case the Senate needs extra time, the House also plans to vote on Wednesday, March 9 on a stopgap measure (HJ Res 75) that would extend current funding through March 15, 2022.
Doug Farquhar is the director of Government Affairs at the National Environmental Health Association in Denver, Colorado.