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Health spending bills still a work in progress

Feb 29, 2024
Illustration of the capitol dome cracking open to show a piggy bank inside

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The funding deal to avert a shutdown bundles the Agriculture-FDA spending bill into the first set of six appropriations measures that will be brought up for votes.

  • But the key numbers and policies aren't fully baked.

The big picture: Appropriators so far haven't shared the topline 302B allocations for individual agency spending bills, and it appears they're also still working out some of the policy details.

  • The overall topline spending number is $1.59 trillion, which was agreed to in January.
  • Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters Thursday morning that text for the first tranche of six bills will be released over the weekend. It's then expected that the chambers will start voting next week.

Flashback: The fiscal 2024 Senate Ag-FDA bill previously allocated $6.63 billion for the FDA.

  • The House put that number at $6.58 billion.
  • For context, the agency was funded at $6.56 billion in FY 2023, and President Biden asked for $7.2 billion in his 2024 budget request.
  • It's highly unlikely that the final text will include poison pills like House language reversing FDA guidance on the abortion pill mifepristone.

As for the Labor-HHS bill, which is in the second tranche of funding bills, House Labor-HHS subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt said negotiators were getting close on funding levels but were still discussing which riders make the cut.

  • "I understand that we're not going to get all the riders, but I'm hoping we get some wins," Aderholt said, adding that he still wanted some of the "pro-life language, as much as possible," left in the bill.
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