Congressional Affairs (Prepared August 19, 2004)
FY 2005 Appropriations
On July 14, 2004, the House Committee on Appropriations reported the FY 2005 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriation bill, which includes funding for NIH, making no change to the Subcommittee reported levels of funding for NIH. The Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education (Representative Ralph Regula [R-OH], Chairman) marked up the measure on July 8, 2004. The Chairman's mark for the House Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee is $142.526 billion, +$202 million over the request of $142.324 billion and 2% growth from the fiscal year 2004 level of $139.424 billion. It provides $28,526,871,000 for NIH, $726,823,000 more than FY 2004. The Subcommittee mark is identical to the FY 2005 President's Budget request.
For NIDA, the FY 2005 budget request is $1.02 billion, an increase of $28.27 million over the FY 2004 conference level of $990.79 million comparable for transfers proposed in the President's request for an increase of 2.9 percent. The revised President's budget reflects a recent budget amendment to provide $14.5 million to fund a new HIV Vaccine Research and Development Center as part of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, announced by President Bush during the June 2004, G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia. Funding is provided by reallocating $6.3 million in budget authority from NIDA and $8.2 million from NLM, to be restored through use of program evaluation funds.
The House will take up the fiscal 2005 Labor-HHS measure after Congress returns in early September from its summer recess. The Senate has not detailed how or when it intends to move its version of the bill. Budget constraints have made writing the legislation difficult in recent years. One problem for appropriators this year is that the discretionary funding increase — $3.1 billion, or 2.2 percent, more than for fiscal 2004 — is absorbed by increases in four major programs: Title I aid for low-income school districts, state grants for educating disabled children, Pell grants for poor college students and money for NIH. Those four programs alone, would receive $3.6 billion more than in 2004 under the House legislation and President Bush's budget request. That would exceed the total increase in the bill and translate into cuts for some programs and the elimination of others.
In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush asked Congress for $200 million annually for drug treatment vouchers that addicts could use at religious-affiliated clinics. Last year, Congress appropriated just $99 million. While applauding the President's efforts to increase treatment options, Chairman Regula's panel noted that the grants have not yet gone to states. The committee decided to keep funding just above the current level. The House bill would allocate $105 million, and the money shaved from the President's request was redirected to the appropriators' top priorities.
Bills of Interest
[For the full text and additional information about any bill, go to the Library of Congress website at http://thomas.loc.gov]
H.R. 3866 - On March 1, 2004, Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., (R-WI) introduced H.R. 3866,"the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004." H.R. 3866 passed the House on June 3, 2004, by a vote of 408-3. The bill would crack down on so-called steroid precursors, which are usually converted into testosterone by the body. Unlike anabolic steroids, which are classified as controlled substances, currently these supplements can legally be sold and used. Under current law (P.L. 101-647), 27 types of anabolic steroids are classified as controlled substances. The bill passed by the House would expand that list to include any substance "chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone," including products made with any of more than 50 specific substances. The legislation would ensure that the only way people could legally procure dozens of types of performance-enhancing supplements would be with a doctor's prescription.
The legislation is being propelled by concern about widespread misuse of the supplements by sports stars — and a fear that children and amateur athletes are mimicking them. The measure now heads to the Senate, where a similar bill (S. 2195) is pending before the Judiciary Committee.
The measure has attracted broad, bipartisan support in Congress but recently the bill became the subject of a dispute over whether the legislation should also take aim at the supplement dehydroepiandrosterone. The substance, known as DHEA, is naturally produced in the body, where it is converted into scores of other hormones and can mimic the effects of testosterone. Because DHEA can be converted into estrogen by the body, some women use the supplement to combat side effects of menopause. The House bill and its Senate counterpart specifically exempt DHEA.
S. 1780, the "Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003," is a bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify the definition of anabolic steroids and to provide for research and education activities relating to steroids and steroid precursors. It was introduced October 23, 2003, by Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Related measures, H.R. 3866 and S. 2195.
S. 2195 - On March 11, 2004, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced S. 2195, the "Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004," a companion bill to H.R. 3866. It closely resembles H.R. 3866, but would authorize $15 million in grants annually from fiscal 2005 through 2010 to bolster programs in elementary and secondary schools educating children on harmful effects of anabolic steroids. Related measures, H.R. 3866 and S. 1780.
H.R. 3922, the "Drug-Impaired Driving Enforcement Act of 2004," introduced by Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill would provide assistance and guidance to states to address the growing problem of drug impaired driving, including offering model legislation and grants to states to enforce the law. The bill calls on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to develop a model state drug impaired driving law that would, in part, call for evaluation, counseling, treatment, and supervision for persons convicted; enhance training of police; fund research to develop field tests to identify drug impaired drivers. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Committee on Judiciary.
H.R. 4883 - On July 21, 2004, Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) introduced H.R. 4883, "the Terrorism Against Animal-Use Entities Prohibition Improvement Act of 2004." Provisions would amend the Animal Enterprise Protection Act by including economic disruption of an animal enterprise as an offense. It also increases fines and prison terms for certain offenses. Additionally, the bill includes a wiretapping provision. The bill was introduced with no co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R. 4888/S. 2718 - On July 21, 2004, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4888, "the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act." On July 22, 2004, Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) introduced an identical bill, S. 2718. Title II, Section 201 of the legislation would create an Interagency Committee, which would include NIAAA and NIDA, focused on underage drinking. H.R. 4888, which has four cosponsors, was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. S. 2718, which has one cosponsor, was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
S. 2741 - On July 22, 2004, Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) introduced S. 2741,"the Advancing FASD Research, Prevention, and Services Act," to extend the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome prevention and services program. The bill would require the Director of NIH to establish a research agenda for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) involving award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. S. 2741 was introduced without cosponsors and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Congressional Briefings and Visits (Members and Staff)
July 14, 2004 - At the invitation of a group of constituent organizations known as "The Friends of NIDA," Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, NIDA, spoke at a Congressional Briefing on the topic of latest advances in drug abuse prevention and treatment research.
August 13, 2004 - At the request of Jon Eskelsen, staff to Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), Dr. Timothy P. Condon, NIDA Deputy Director, provided a briefing on the health effects and trends in use of methamphetamine and marijuana. Mary Mayhew, OSPC, accompanied Dr. Condon.