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Legislative History Timeline

Date Event

February 4, 1927

Senator M. M. Neely, of West Virginia, introduced Senate Bill 5589 to authorize a reward for the discovery of a successful cure for cancer, and to create a commission to inquire into and ascertain the success of such cure. The reward was to be $5 million.

March 7, 1928

Senator M. M. Neely introduced Senate Bill 3554 to authorize the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the means and methods for affording Federal aid in discovering a cure for cancer and for other purposes.

April 23, 1929

Senator W. J. Harris, Georgia, introduced Senate Bill 466 to authorize the Public Health Service and the National Academy of Sciences jointly to investigate the means and methods for affording Federal aid in discovering a cure for cancer and for other purposes.

May 29, 1929

Senator W. J. Harris introduced Senate Bill 4531, authorizing a survey in connection with the control of cancer and providing that the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service is authorized and directed to make a general survey in connection with the control of cancer and submit a report thereon to the Congress as soon as practicable, together with his recommendations for necessary Federal legislation.

April 2, 1937

Senator Homer T. Bone of Washington introduced Senate Bill 2067 authorizing the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to control and prevent the spread of the disease of cancer. It authorizes an annual appropriation of $1 million. Congressman Warren G. Magnuson of Washington introduced an identical bill in the House, House Resolution 6100.

April 29, 1937

Congressman Maury Maverick of Texas introduced House Resolution 6767 to promote research in the cause, prevention, and methods of diagnosis and treatment of cancer, to provide better facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, to establish a National Cancer Center in the Public Health Service, and for other purposes. It authorizes an appropriation of $2,400,000 for the first year and $1 million annually thereafter. The legal office of the Public Health Service helped draft the bill on the basis of suggestions made by Dr. Dudley Jackson of San Antonio, Tex.

August 5, 1937

The National Cancer Institute Act establishes the National Cancer Institute as the federal government’s principal agency for conducting research and training on the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The bill also calls upon the NCI to assist and promote similar research at other public and private institutions. An appropriation of $700,000 for each fiscal year is authorized. (P.L. 75-244)

March 28, 1938

House Joint Resolution 468, 75th Congress, was passed, "To dedicate the month of April in each year to a voluntary national program for the control of cancer."

July 1, 1944

The Public Health Service Act, P.L. 410, 78th Congress, provided that "The National Cancer Institute shall be a division in the National Institute of Health." The act also revised and consolidated many revisions into a single law. The limit of $700,000 annual appropriation was removed.

August 15, 1950

Public Law 692, 81st Congress, increased the term of office of National Advisory Cancer Council members from 3 to 4 years and the size of the Council from 6 to 12 members, exclusive of the ex-officio members.

December 23, 1971

The National Cancer Act of 1971 provides increased authorities and responsibilities for the NCI Director; initiating a National Cancer Program; establishing a 3-member President's Cancer Panel and an 18-member presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board, the latter replacing the National Advisory Cancer Council; authorizing the establishment of 15 new research, training, and demonstration cancer centers; establishing cancer control programs as necessary for cooperation with state and other health agencies in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer; and providing for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of all data useful in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, including the establishment of an international cancer data research bank. (P.L. 92-218)

July 23, 1974

The National Cancer Act Amendments of 1974 aim to improve the National Cancer Program and to authorize appropriations for the next three fiscal years. The bill includes provisions for disseminating information on nutrition as related to the therapy or causation of cancer, for trials of cytology test programs for the diagnosis of uterine cancer, and for peer review of grant applications and contract projects. It also establishes a President's Biomedical Research Panel. (P.L. 93-352)

August 1, 1977

The Health Planning and Health Services Research and Statistics Extension Act contains a provision to extend the NCI mandate for one year. (P.L. 95-83).

November 9, 1978

The Community Mental Health Centers Act amends the National Cancer Act to emphasize education and demonstration programs in cancer treatment and prevention, and stipulates that NCI devote more resources to prevention, focusing particularly on environmental, dietary and occupational cancer causes. (P.L. 95-622)

December 17, 1980

The Health Programs Extension Act of 1980 extends the NCI authorization for 3 years. (P.L. 96-538)

November 20, 1985

The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 affirms the special authorities of NCI and emphasizes the importance of information dissemination to the public. (P.L. 99-158)

November 4, 1988

The Health Research Extension Act of 1988 provides a 2-year extension, which reaffirms the special authorities of NCI and added information dissemination mandates, as well as the requirement to assess the incorporation of cancer treatments into clinical practice and the extent to which cancer patients receive such treatments. A representative from the Department of Energy was added to the National Cancer Advisory Board as an ex officio member. (P.L. 100-607)

June 10, 1993

The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 encourages NCI to expand and intensify its efforts in breast cancer and other women's cancers and authorized increased appropriations. Similar language is included for prostate cancer. NCI is also directed to collaborate with the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), to undertake a case control study to assess biological markers of environmental and other potential risk factors contributing to the incidence of breast cancer in specific counties in the Northeast. In FY 1994, NCI is directed to allocate 7% of its appropriation to cancer control, 9%in FY 1995, and 10%in FY 1996. (P.L. 103-43)

August 13, 1998

The Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act establishes a special alternative rate of postage up to 25% higher than a regular first-class stamp. 70% of the profits from the sale of the stamp, also referred to as a semipostal, would go to the NIH to fund breast cancer research; the remaining 30% would go to the U.S. Department of Defense breast cancer research. (PL 105-41)

July 28, 2000

The Semipostal Authorization Act gives the U.S. Postal Service the authority to issue semipostal stamps, which are sold at a premium in order to help provide funding for a particular area of research. The law also extends the Breast Cancer Stamp Act until July 29, 2002. (P.L. 106-253)

July 10, 2000

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Amendments of 1999 allows more workers who handled radioactive material for weapons programs to be eligible to receive federal compensation for radiation-induced illness. The law expandes previously written compensation acts, making more grades of workers eligible for compensation, and to include compensation for brain, lung, bladder, colon, ovary, and salivary gland cancers. (P.L. 106-245)

November 12, 2001

The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2002 makes appropriations for the Treasury Department, the U.S. Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain Independent Agencies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, and for other purposes. Within this bill is a provision to reauthorize the Breast Cancer Research Postage Stamp through July 29, 2008. (P.L. 107-67)

January 4, 2002

The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act is designed to improve the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals for children, by reauthorizing legislation that encourages pediatric drug research by giving drug companies an incentive of 6 months of additional market exclusivity to test their products for use in children. (P.L. 107-109)

May 14, 2002

The Hematologic Cancer Research Investment and Education Act of 2002 directs the NIH Director, through the NCI Director, to conduct and support research on blood cancers. In addition, the CDC is directed to establish and carry out an information and education program. (P.L. 107-172)

September 10, 2002

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act contains a provision instructing Federal agencies to stockpile and distribute potassium iodide (KI) to protect the public from thyroid cancer in the event of a radiation emergency. (P.L. 107-188)

June 30, 2005

The Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005 amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize a demonstration grant program to provide patient navigator services to reduce barriers and improve health care outcomes. The bill directs the HHS Secretary to require each recipient of a grant under this section to use the grant to recruit, assign, train, and employ patient navigators who have direct knowledge of the communities they serve to facilitate the care of individuals who have cancer or other chronic diseases. The bill also directs the HHS Secretary to coordinate with, and ensure the participation of, the Indian Health Service, NCI, the Office of Rural Health Policy, and such other offices and agencies as deemed appropriate by the Secretary, regarding the design and evaluation of the demonstration programs. (P.L. 109-18)

November 11, 2005

The 2-Year Extension of Postage Stamp for Breast Cancer Research extends the U.S. Postal Service's authority to issue special postage stamps to help provide funding for breast cancer research through December 31, 2007. (P.L. 109-100)

January 12, 2007

The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005, or "Johanna's Law" directs the HHS Secretary to carry out a national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of health care providers and women with respect to gynecologic cancers. (P.L. 109-475)

April 20, 2007

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 allows states to apply for federal waivers to spend a greater share of funds on hard-to-reach underserved women. This bill authorizes funding up to $275 million by 2012; $201 million is authorized for 2007. (P.L. 110-18)

September 27, 2007

The FDA Amendments Act of 2007 amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to reauthorize the collection of prescription drug user fees for FY2008-FY2012. Requires NIH to expand the clinical trial registry ( and creates a clinical trial results database. (P.L. 110-85)

December 12, 2007

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act extends through December 31, 2011, provisions requiring the U.S. Postal Service to issue a special postage stamp which contributes funding to breast cancer research. In addition, it requires the NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense to annually report to Congress and the Government Accountability Office on the use of any such funding, including a description of any significant advances or accomplishments. (P.L. 110-150)

December 31, 2007

The Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007, or the OPEN Government Act of 2007, amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to revise requirements for federal agency disclosures of information requested under that Act. The aim of this bill is to speed up the FOIA process for public access to government documents. (P.L. 110-175)

May 21, 2008

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 prohibits health insurers and employers from requiring genetic testing or from using genetic information in decisions regarding insurance eligibility, coverage or premiums, or hiring, firing, or promotion. On March 5, 2008, the text of this bill, as passed by the House, was included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. (P.L. 110-233)

May 23, 2008

The Temporary Extension of Programs under the Small Business Act and The Small Business Investment Act of 1958 is intended to temporarily extend the SBIR program authorities of the Small Business Administration through March 20, 2009. The SBIR program authorities were due to expire at the end of 2008. (P.L. 110-235)

July 15, 2008

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act extends expiring provisions under the Medicare Program, to improve beneficiary access to preventive and mental health services, to enhance low-income benefit programs, and to maintain access to care in rural areas, including pharmacy access, and for other purposes. This bill prevents a 10.6% cut in payments to physicians treating Medicare patients, freezes current payment rates for 18 months, and provides a 1.1% percent increase in 2009. (P.L. 110-275)

July 29, 2008

The Caroline Pryce Walker Childhood Cancer Act of 2007 amends the Public Health Service Act to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers. (P.L. 110-287)

October 8, 2008

The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act of 2007 amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the NIEHS to make grants for the development and operation of research centers regarding environmental factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer. The bill establishes an Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee within HHS. (P.L. 110-354)

February 4, 2009

The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 increases the tax on cigarettes by 62 cents to $1.01 per pack and raise taxes on other tobacco products, in order to offset the cost of the program expansion. (P.L. 113-3)

February 17, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $10 billion in additional funding for the NIH; of which NCI received $1.3 billion in Recovery Act funds to be distributed during the two-year span of 2009 and 2010. (P.L. 111-5)

June 21, 2009

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act provides the FDA with the authority to regulate tobacco products and establishes within the FDA, the Center for Tobacco Products to implement this act. The Act also establishes a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to provide advice, information and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS. The Act allows the Secretary of HHS to restrict the sale or distribution and the advertising or promotion of tobacco products, if appropriate for the protection of the public health, and to the full extent permitted by the First Amendment. (P.L. 111-31)

March 23, 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the health care reform bill, establishes a private non-profit institute called the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, obtain and use data from the Federal government, and establish advisory panels to advise on research priorities, among other provisions. The bill requires NIH to conduct research to develop and validate new screening tests for breast cancer. The bill also requires the NIH Director to establish a Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) program, which shall award grants and contracts to eligible entities to accelerate the development of high need cures and therapies, including the development of medical products, drugs or devices, or biological products. (P.L. 111-148)

March 31, 2010

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 prevents tobacco smuggling, ensures the collection of all tobacco taxes, and includes smokeless tobacco as a regulated substance. The bill amends the federal criminal code to treat cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as nonmailable and prohibit such items from being deposited in or carried through the U.S. mail. (P.L.111-154)

December 23, 2011

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act reauthorized the issuance of semipostal stamps for breast cancer research, from which NIH receives seventy percent of the profits and the Department of Defense receives 30 percent for their respective breast cancer research activities. These funds are in addition to annual appropriations received, and are authorized through 2015. (P.L. 112-80)

January 2, 2013

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The legislation calls for NCI to develop a scientific framework for research on two cancers that have a 5-year relative survival rate of less than 20 percent, and are estimated to cause the death of at least 30,000 individuals in the United States per year. Pancreatic cancer and lung cancer meet these criteria. (P.L. 112-239)

April 3, 2014

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act authorizes $12.6 million per year for ten years to the NIH Common Fund to support a pediatric research initiative. Congress has appropriated funds for this purpose for FY 2015 and FY 2016. The Common Fund’s implementation of the Gabrielle Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program involves pediatric research experts from across NIH, including NCI, and the program’s areas of research focus are childhood cancers and structural birth defects. (P.L. 113-94)

December 11, 2015

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act reauthorized the issuance of semipostal stamps for breast cancer research, from which NIH receives seventy percent of the profits and the Department of Defense receives 30 percent for their respective breast cancer research activities. These funds are in addition to annual appropriations received, and are authorized through 2019. (P.L. 114-19)

December 13, 2016

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) establishes a $4.8 billion NIH Innovation Fund for the precision medicine initiative, the BRAIN initiative, regenerative medicines, and the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot. Subject to annual appropriations, Cures authorizes $1.8 billion over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot. The purpose of the Cancer Moonshot is to support cancer research that has the potential to transform the scientific field and that seeks to address major challenges related to cancer. The bill also includes several other NIH-relevant initiatives including provisions related to early career investigators, improving loan repayment programs, and streamlining procedural requirements for attendance at scientific meetings. Cures also includes new authority for FDA in order to accelerate drug development and recruit and retain scientific expertise. (P.L. 114-255)

August 18, 2017

Title V, Section 504, “Development of drugs and biological products for pediatric cancers” of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 amends current study requirements under the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) so that requirements for pediatric studies are based on relevant molecular targets rather than the current requirements, based on cancer site of origin. Additionally, the provisions amend PREA by ending the exemption of PREA obligations for cancer drugs with orphan designations if the molecular target of their drug is relevant to a pediatric cancer. The Act also directs the FDA, in consultation with NCI, to develop lists of relevant ad non-relevant targets and post them to the FDA website. FDA posted these lists in August 2018 and NCI is continuing to work with FDA to make updates to the lists as needed. (P.L. 115-52)

June 5, 2018

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, Research (STAR) Act authorizes NCI to support and expand collection of biospecimens from children, as well as adolescents and young adults (AYAs), diagnosed with cancer to build upon biorepositories and biospecimen research already underway with NCI support. The bill encourages that these efforts focus on cancer types/subtypes (and their recurrences) for which current treatments are least effective. The law also authorizes NIH, with guidance from the NCI Director and in coordination with ongoing research activities, to continue to conduct and support pediatric cancer survivorship research. The Act also includes provisions directed toward other HHS operating divisions, including the CDC. (P.L. 115-180)

December 20, 2019 The FY 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 116-94) provides $50 million for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative, which will support the critical need to collect, analyze, and share data to address the burden of cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults (AYA). This proposed federal investment of $50 million per year for 10 years will enable NCI to establish a data ecosystem of connected repositories, registries, and tools that the entire childhood and AYA research community can access and share. Each additional year of funding must be appropriated each fiscal year through the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. 
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