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NACA meeting: September 21–22, 2010

Legislative Update

FY2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations - The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2011 Labor- HHS –Education bill (S. 3686) on July 29. The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed its version of the bill on July 15. The House and Senate appropriations for NIH match the FY 2011 President’s Budget request of $32,007.2 million or 3.2 percent above this year (see NIA Budget Report).

New NIH Legislation Enacted and Introduced:

On July 30, 2010, the President signed into law H.R. 5849, a bill to extend temporarily the SBIR/STTR programs through September 30, 2010, as P.L. 111-214. The previous extension, P.L. 111-162, expired July 31, 2010. H.R. 5849 was introduced on July 26 by House Committee on Small Business Chair Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), passed in the House by voice vote on July 27, agreed to in the Senate by Unanimous Consent on July 27, and presented to the President on July 28.

H.R. 6017, The Gulf Coast Health Monitoring and Research Program Act of 2010 – On July 30, 2010, Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced H.R. 6017, the Gulf Coast Health Monitoring and Research Program Act of 2010. The bill would require the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce and the Administrator of EPA, to establish a short-term and long-term comprehensive health screening, monitoring, and research program for oil spill workers and vulnerable residents, and on food safety affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, the program would be required to include research on the exposure of workers and vulnerable residents to oil, dispersants, and other chemicals and physical hazards during the clean-up effort, including: (1) information about the use of personal protective equipment, (2) biological sampling where appropriate, and (3) information on such exposure of workers and vulnerable residents who may be more susceptible due to their age, preexisting health status, pregnancy status, or other factors determined by the Secretary. H.R. 6017 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Other Pending Legislation with NIH/NIA Provisions:

H.R. 3286/S. 1492, The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009 – On July 22, 2009, Representative Markey (D-MA) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D- MD) introduced the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009 (H.R. 3286/S. 1492). H.R. 3286/S. 1492 would increase the authorization level for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, and require the Director of the NIA to make supporting AD research a priority for the Institute. In addition, the legislation would require an expansion of clinical research on AD with a focus on (1) early diagnosis and detection, (2) the relationship of vascular disease and AD, and (3) expediting the translation of research findings into effective treatments and prevention strategies. The bill would require the Secretary, HHS, within 3 years of enactment of the legislation and every 3 years thereafter, to convene a summit on AD for the purpose of providing a detailed overview of current research activities at the NIH, as well as to discuss and solicit input to potential areas of collaboration between the NIH and other Federal agencies related to research, prevention, treatment and public outreach on AD. It is reported that S.1492 will be scheduled soon for Senate HELP Committee mark-up. No House committee action is anticipated.

S. 3036/H.R. 4689, The National Alzheimer’s Project Act – The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was introduced by Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA). It proposes to establish in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services an Office of the National Alzheimer's Project and calls for the development of a national AD plan. Both bills are pending committee action.

H.R. 5037/S.1373 – On April 15, 2009, Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA), along with cosponsors Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rick Boucher (D-VA), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), introduced H.R. 5037, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010. H.R. 5037 would require each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million to develop a specified Federal research public access policy that is consistent with and advances the purposes of the agency. The bill would make each Federal research public access policy applicable to: (1) researchers employed by the Federal agency whose works remain in the public domain; and (2) researchers funded by the agency. The bill specifically excludes from this policy the following: (1) research progress reports presented at professional meetings or conferences; (2) laboratory notes, preliminary data analyses, notes of the author, phone logs, or other information used to produce final manuscripts; (3) classified research, research resulting in works that generate revenue or royalties for authors (such as books) or patentable discoveries, to the extent necessary to protect a copyright or patent; or (4) authors who do not submit their work to a journal or works that are rejected by journals. H.R. 5037 would also require annual reports from each agency on its Federal research public access policy. The measure was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations. An identical bill, S. 1373, was introduced on June 25, 2009, by Senators Joseph Lieberman (IND-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX).

H.R. 2987, the Cure and Understanding through Research for Alzheimer’s Disease (La Cura Act) of 2009 -Introduced in the House on June 19, 2009, by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA). The measure proposes to amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure sufficient resources and increase efforts for research at the National Institutes of Health relating to Alzheimer's disease, to authorize an education and outreach program to promote public awareness and risk reduction with respect to Alzheimer's disease (with particular emphasis on education and outreach in Hispanic populations), and for other purposes. The measure is pending action by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3170, the FY 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act- On July 16, 2009, the House passed H.R. 3170 by a vote of 219-208. This legislation contains many government-wide provisions applicable to NIH. Of note, this legislation continues the A-76 prohibition regarding competitive sourcing and contains a new provision that would require each department or agency to develop an inventory of service contracts. Regarding the annual cost-of-living allowance for Federal employees, H.R. 3170 does not contain a pay raise provision since the House agrees with the Administrations’ request of two percent. This measure has passed the House and was referred to the Senate for action.

On May 20, 2009, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced S. 1110, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) Reform Act of 2009. Of interest to NIH are provisions that would authorize the Commission to advise the Secretary, through AHRQ and NIH, on priorities for health services research. In addition, it would authorize the Commission to have access to all raw data and research conducted or funded by the Federal government, including data and research produced by NIH, CMS, and AHRQ. Finally, NIH and AHRQ would be required, not less than twice a year, to submit a report to the Commission containing information on any research conducted which has relevance for the determinations and recommendations being considered by the Commission. S. 1110 is still pending action by the Senate Committee on Finance.

Submitted by:
Tamara Jones, Ph.D.
Legislative Officer
National Institute on Aging