October 1 marked the start of fiscal year (FY) 2008; however NCI and NIH must wait for Congress and the White House to negotiate spending priorities before the year’s appropriations bills are finalized. The federal government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution, which will maintain federal funding at FY07 levels through November 16, when either the FY08 appropriations bills will be enacted into law or a second Continuing Resolution will be needed. At issue is the fact that Congress has put together discretionary spending bills which total $23 billion more than the $933 billion budget request that the President sent to Congress in February. The White House has issued Statements of Administration Policy on 7 of the 12 appropriations bills, including Labor-HHS-Education, which state that the bills would appropriate funds in excess of the President's budget request and therefore would be vetoed.
The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, HR 3043, that the House passed in July provides $151.7 billion, $10.8 billion more than the $140.9 billion requested by the President for the programs covered under this bill. Under the House-passed bill, NIH would receive $29.4 billion for FY08, of which NCI would receive $4.87 billion. The Senate has stated that it would take up its version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (S 1710) during the week of October 15. The Senate bill contains $149.9 billion in spending and would provide NIH with $29.6 billion, including $4.91 billion for NCI. Under the President’s budget request, NIH would receive $28.6 billion and NCI would receive $4.78 billion for FY08.
As of October 1, the House had passed each of the 12 appropriations bills, while the Senate had passed 4 of the 12 (Homeland Security, Military Construction-VA, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD).
In addition to appropriations, there are other legislative activities of interest to NCI in Congress. NCI's Office of Government and Congressional Relations is closely tracking the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (S 625/HR 1108) along with two bills that would affect the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program - The Small Business Act Amendment (S 1932) and The Small Business Investment Expansion Act of 2007 (HR 3567). HR 3567 was passed by the House on September 27. Each of the small business bills could potentially affect the pool of grant applicants being supported by NCI. The small business legislation would impact both the pool of available funds set aside for small businesses and the eligibility criteria for small business grant applicants.