Washington Update

Fiscal Year 2015 Senate Appropriations Update

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The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services met in June to markup the Fiscal Year 2015 HHS appropriations bill. The full Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up the bill on June 12, but that markup has been postponed indefinitely.

Programs supporting dental education and dental and craniofacial research fared variedly. The subcommittee increased funding for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students by 29% to $57.8 million in FY15. The target recipients for this program are the same as for the Health Career Opportunity Programs (HCOP), yet target students at a different point in their education.

ADEA requested $32,392,000 for Title VII programs for FY15, and the subcommittee recommended $33,928,000, a 6% increase above the FY14 level and the president’s request for this program. As part of this request, ADEA asked for a set aside of $10 million each for residencies in General Dentistry and Pediatric Dentistry. Until the full committee reports the funding bill, the outcome of the requested set aside will remain unknown.

The Ryan White Part F dental reimbursement programs also fared well. The subcommittee increased the programmatic funding above the current year’s appropriation by $98,000 to $13,089,000. The ADEA request is set at $18 million. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Committee recommendation is $402.4 million. This is $5.3 million above the FY14 appropriated level. 

The subcommittee recommended no funds for the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) and the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) programs. Also, the subcommittee did not recommend funds for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program for which resources have been steady at about $1.2 million for the last few years. Only 20 grants are being issued during the current fiscal year.

The Senate Labor-HHS bill is being postponed from full Committee markup likely due to Democratic members of the committee facing tough reelection campaigns and who do not want to vote on planned amendments, such as that introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to strip funds to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically to cut $1.8 billion from administering the federal exchanges.

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