(Prepared February 3, 2004)
The House and Senate adjourned Sine Die on December 8 and December 9, 2003, respectively. Congress reconvened on January 20, 2004, to open the second session of the 108th Congress.
FY 2004 Appropriations
H.R. 2673 - On December 8, 2003, the House passed the conference report for H.R. 2673, the Agriculture Appropriations, FY 2004 (the Omnibus Appropriations bill for FY 2004) by a vote of 242 to 176. This bill contains Government-wide funding provisions for seven separate appropriations bills including Labor, Health and Human Services (H.R. 2660), which funds NIH; Transportation and Treasury (H.R. 2989); Foreign Operations (H.R. 2800); Commerce-Justice-State (H.R. 2799); District of Columbia (H.R. 2765); Veterans, Housing and Urban Development (H.R. 2861); and Agriculture (H.R. 2673).
The Senate took up the measure when it returned for the second session of the 108th Congress in January 2004. On January 22, 2004, the Senate by a vote of 65-28 passed the conference report for H.R. 2673, (the Omnibus Appropriations bill for FY 2004); on January 23, 2004, the President signed H.R. 2673 into law as P.L. 108-199. Upon enactment, NIH receives $27,729 million, an increase of 2.8 percent. NIDA will receive $997,414,000. Also included in the bill is a 0.59 percent across the board cut that applies to non-defense programs. The bill includes a 2.2 percent program evaluation tap as proposed by the Senate for DHHS, including NIH.
Highlights of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2004 (HR 2673)
- NIH Director's Transfer Authority: Continues NIH Director's 1-percent transfer authority; 3- percent AIDS transfer by Director of NIH and Director of OAR. These funds are determined jointly by these Directors and allocated directly to OAR for distribution to ICs.
- Evaluation Tap: Includes Senate bill language authorizing transfer of up to 2.2 percent of Public Health Service funds for evaluation activities.
- Secretary's Transfer Authority: Continues the transfer of not more than 1 percent between appropriations and the limitation that no appropriation can be increased by more than 3 percent by the transfer. With House and Senate approval, an appropriation can increase by an additional 2 percent.
- Human Embryo Research (HER): Retains HER prohibition language identical to the FY 2003 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations bill.
- Congressional Requests: Continues Senate language (and FY 2003 language) that directs that specific information requests from the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, on scientific research or any other matter, shall be transmitted to the Committees on Appropriations in a prompt professional manner and within the time frame specified in the request. The conferees further direct that scientific information requested by the Committees on Appropriations and prepared by Government researchers and scientists be transmitted to the Committees on Appropriations uncensored and without delay."
- Extramural Salary Cap: Retains Executive Level I Salary Cap as in FY 2003.
- Across the Board Reduction: "The conference agreement includes a rescission of $1,800,000,000 funds made available to the Department of Defense and made available in P.L. 107-38 and P.L. 107-117, as well as a 0.59 percent across-the-board rescission to discretionary budgetary resources provided in Fiscal Year 2004 regular appropriations Acts (except Defense and Military Construction), as well as to any previously enacted Fiscal Year 2004 advance appropriation."
- Stem Cells: The conferees have included a provision prohibiting funds to process patents of human organisms.
- SAMHSA: The conference agreement includes $3,370,813,000 for substance abuse and mental health services, of which $3,253,763,000 is provided through budget authority and $117,050,000 is provided through the evaluation set-aside. The conference agreement includes bill language establishing a limitation of five percent of the block grant appropriation for funding of data collection activities as proposed by the Senate.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign - The Conferees state that: "While the conferees are encouraged by data released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showing welcome trends in the incidence of youth drug use, the conferees wish to reemphasize the need to demonstrate that such trends can be linked to the Media Campaign itself. The conferees therefore direct ONDCP to submit to the Committees on Appropriations an evaluation plan for the Media Campaign covering fiscal years 2004-2008 no later than 120 days after enactment of this Act. In addition, the conferees direct ONDCP to provide to the Committees on Appropriations a detailed report regarding the type and content of all advertising, its timing and placement in media markets, and the matches provided for all advertising. In order to ensure that a sufficient amount will be spent on advertising, the conferees agree to provide that no less than 78 percent of the funds provided shall be spent on the purchase of advertising time and space." Conferrees agree to: $145,000,000 to support a ONDCP National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign and $70,000,000 to continue a program of matching grants to drug-free communities, of which $1,000,000 shall be a directed grant to CADCA for the National Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute.
- COLA/Pay Raises for Federal Employees: Provides for a 4.1 percent increase in the adjustment in rates of basic pay for the statutory pay systems that takes effect in FY 2004 and shall be effective as of the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2004. Funds to carry out this requirement will be paid from each applicable department for salaries and expenses for FY 2004.
Bills of Interest
HR 2086 - On May 14, 2003, Representative Souder (R-IN) introduced HR 2086, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2003. The bill was referred to House Energy and Commerce, House Government Reform, House Judiciary, House Select Intelligence, Senate Judiciary Committees. On Sept. 30, 2003, the measure, as amended, passed in the House by voice vote, under suspension of the rules (two-thirds vote required). (Text of bill, as amended and passed in the House, appears in the Sept. 30, 2003, Congressional Record.) On Oct. 1, 2003, it was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Related Bills: S1860).
HR 3634 - On November 21, 2003, Representative Souder (R-IN) introduced HR 3634, a measure similar to S 1887. Both bills would amend the Controlled Substance Act to lift the patient limitation on prescribing drug addiction treatments by medical practitioners in group practices. The House bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce and the House Judiciary Committees.
S 1860 - On Nov. 14, 2003, S 1860, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2003, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Hatch, R-Utah. The measure was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Related bills: HR 2086).
S 1887 - On November 18, 2003, Senator Hatch (R-UT), with Senators Biden (D-DE) and Levin (D-MI) introduced S 1887, a bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to lift the patient limitation on prescribing drug addiction treatments by medical practitioners in group practices. This measure would specifically affect the use of buprenorphine products for opiate addiction treatment. The Senate bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Related bills: HR 3634).
Hearings and Briefings
January 27, 2004 - At the request of majority staff to the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, Dr. Wilson Compton, Director, DESPR, NIDA, briefed Subcommittee staff on measuring effectiveness of drug addiction treatment. Dr. Susan Weiss, Chief, Science Policy Branch, OSPC, and Mary Mayhew, SPB, accompanied Dr. Compton. Ms. Stephanie Colston, SAMHSA, also participated.
February 12, 2004 - The House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources (Representative Mark Souder [R-IN], Chairman) will hold a hearing on measuring the effectiveness of addiction treatment and to consider how to make the U.S. treatment system more effective. Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, NIDA and Jim Stone, Deputy Administrator, SAMHSA will testify.