The way in which Congress allocates federal funds is known as the appropriations process. Each year, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees must write twelve appropriations bills that direct how much money can be spent on a given project or program.
During the drafting process, members who do not serve on the Appropriations Committee can submit letters indicating their priority programs and what funding levels they support. This is one of the opportunities when outside stakeholders, including our community, can help shape the bills with our advocacy. (We do this during Call-on Congress when we asked the Members we met with to support our funding priorities!)
Once the bills are written, all twelve must be considered and approved by the relevant House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee and then Full Committee. Following the committee process, the bills then have to be approved by the full House and Senate. Since the House and Senate write their own bills, there are often differences which then have to be worked out in a conference committee where Representatives and Senators come together to iron out the differences in the two bills. Once an agreement is reached in the conference committee, the House and Senate must pass that agreement and then the President must sign it for the legislation to become law.
So far, the FY19 appropriations process is going fairly smoothly. The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed all twelve of its bills. The House Appropriations Committee is continuing to work through its bills. Both chambers have until September 30, the end of the fiscal year, to complete their work and avoid a government shutdown.
Each year, Fight CRC advocates for robust funding for the following:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Colorectal Cancer Control Program
- Department of Defense (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program
We are pleased to report that in both the House and Senate bills, funding for the Colorectal Cancer Control Program and the Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program have remained stable, despite efforts by some to cut the programs.
The NIH received an increase in funding in both the House and Senate bills. The House bill allocated an additional $1 billion and the Senate gave NIH an additional $2 billion. House appropriators have said that they are likely to support the higher Senate number, but we will continue to raise our voice to ensure that NIH gets the $2 billion increase in the final agreement.