The House of Representatives approved the 2009 Budget Resolution on Thursday by a vote of 214 – 210. The Senate approved the Resolution on Wednesday.
Today, the Senate passed the FY 2008 supplemental appropriations bill for military operations abroad by a vote of 70 to 26. The Senate also passed a separate bill which provides supplemental funding in FY 2008 for domestic programs by a vote of 75 to 22. This bill includes $400 million for NIH and $275 million for the FDA. The two bills will be combined before any further activity takes place.
The House’s current FY 2008 supplemental appropriations bill does not include the emphasis on domestic programs. This is due largely to the fact that the White House has stated it will veto any supplemental funding legislation that doesn’t focus exclusively on military spending. The House and Senate will have to negotiate a final, compromised package to send to the White House after the Memorial Day recess.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair, John Dingell (D-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chair, Bart Stupak (D-MI) sent letters to Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Schering-Plough and Pfizer asking them to stop using “misleading and deceptive” direct-to-consumer advertising.
Dingell in a statement said, “Marketing department leaders have failed to commit to reducing misleading and deceptive ads, so we’re now asking the CEOs to make this agreement.” Stupak said, “We intend to make certain that drug companies market their product properly in order to protect American consumers from manipulative commercials designed to mislead and deceive for profit.”
C3 would like to thank President Bush for signing into law the Genetic Non-Discrimination Information Act (GINA) today. This monumental legislation will protect Americans from discrimination based on an individual’s genetic information in health insurance coverage and employment settings.
“This is a tremendous victory for every American not born with perfect genes – which means it’s a victory for every single one us,” said Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY). “Since all of us are predisposed to at least a few genetic-based disorders, we are all potential victims of genetic discrimination.”
The Senate Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to take up the FY 2008 supplemental appropriations bill this Thursday afternoon, May 15th. The committee intends to include $400 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in this spending package. If successful, the committee would provide the National Cancer Institute with up to an additional $65 million on top of the $4.8 billion already appropriated in FY 2008. The inclusion of these funds in a supplemental funding bill is extremely rare and illustrates the strength of support that cancer research has in Congress.
The funds for NIH are being added as part of a larger spending package for key domestic priorities. The full Senate is expected to consider the bill sometime the week of May 19th. Because the President is opposed to the domestic spending, it is likely that the bill will be challenged by his supporters in the Senate requiring a 60 vote majority to pass the Senate.
I have provided a list of 15 Senators whose votes will be critical to increase funding for NIH. These Senators should be asked to support the domestic spending package and the NIH funding within it.