September's funding battles

While the Senate has already advanced bipartisan appropriations bills for both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the House still has to bring its HHS funding bill before the full Appropriations Committee.


Democrats on the committee are stuck on the GOP’s aim to massively cut the agency’s budget, with the appropriations bill also encompassing the Departments of Education and Labor.


Republicans are saying they’re going after “wasteful bureaucracy” while Democrats blast them for proposing a spending level ($163 billion) that hasn’t been that low in more than a decade.


On the reauthorization front, the House and Senate have both advanced bills to reauthorize the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act, considered a must-pass bill. A key difference is the Senate included a provision to give the FDA more authority to anticipate potential drug shortages while House Republicans left a similar measure out of their version.


Additionally, lawmakers are looking to tackle hospital price transparency and payment reforms in the pharmacy benefit manager industry. In the House, which returns to session next week, efforts are underway across multiple committees to combine various different pieces of legislation into a floor-friendly package.


Senators are still hoping to bring up legislation that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month for people with private insurance, though with a looming appropriations battle, it may have to wait until the end of the year.

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