publication date: Oct. 19, 2018

Here are the strings attached to the NIH funding increase: House and Senate report language

By Paul Goldberg

Reports published annually by the appropriations committees do not rank high in the hierarchy of legislative documents.

The two reports, which reflect the views of the House and Senate committees that advance spending measures, do not have the legislative weight of bill language, they don’t advance to be signed by the president, and they don’t rise to the level of law.

However, these documents cannot be ignored. After all, they are a compilation of mandates from the very folks who gave NIH a $2 billion boost in fiscal year 2019 (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 28). NCI has received $5.747 billion, plus $400 million in Moonshot funding.

Whether the committee mandates make their way into the House or Senate version of the report, NCI has the obligation to respond to it in “congressional justifications,” or CJs for short.

Arguably, there are as many ways to read report languages as there are cancer interests on Capitol Hill.

The verb that follow the words “the Committee” in each sentence is important. “Directs” is the strongest you can get.

“Strongly encourages” is a tad below; “supports” is a bit weaker. “The Committee is concerned” is obviously something that must be noted. Same goes for “the Committee supports,” and “the Committee is aware of” is pregnant with meaning.

The mandates attached to the appropriations bill foreshadow legislative battles that should be expected in the near future.

No less importantly, they tell us that some member of Congress (sometimes recognizable; sometimes not) has a particular programmatic vision … Continue reading Here are the strings attached to the NIH funding increase: House and Senate report language

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