Update: President Biden signed the bill into law on March 15, 2022.
President Biden is soon expected to sign into law the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus funding bill, which provides funding for all federal agencies through September 30, 2022. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during the week of March 7, 2022.
The bill significantly increases funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to help advance our nation’s work towards combating, and ultimately curing, cancer. The bill provides $6.9 billion for the NCI – an increase of $353 million over FY2021 – including full funding for the Cancer Moonshot. Congress also provided $45 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – an increase of $2.25 billion over FY2021—including a boost of $50 million specifically for health disparities research. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) commends Congress for their enthusiastic, bipartisan support for continued investment in biomedical research.
ASCO is also pleased that Congress provided $1 billion through September 2024 to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency Health (ARPA-H) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). ARPA-H is the Biden Administration’s proposed new biomedical research agency focused on high-risk, bold, translational research projects. ASCO developed a set of principles to help guide the creation of this new agency and is excited to continue its work with Congress and the Administration to establish ARPA-H and accelerate progress against diseases like cancer.
In addition, the bill provides $3.3 billion for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), including full funding for the 21st Century Cures Act and and $550 million to expand broadband to rural areas. It also includes a provision granting the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products the authority to regulate synthetic nicotine as tobacco products – a much-needed, ASCO-backed change that will allow the Center to address a serious public health emergency.
Congress also provided a temporary extension of the telehealth flexibilities established in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the bill delays originating and geographic site restrictions and extends coverage of audio-only services for an additional 151 days after the end of the public health emergency. While ASCO is glad to see temporary extensions included in the final bill, Congress must act quickly to make these changes permanent so that patients can continue to rely on telehealth as part of high-quality, equitable cancer care.
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