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House Appropriations Committee Approves Funding for Fiscal 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services Bill

Washington, DC, July 13, 2020 – Today the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Fiscal 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill. The House bill provides $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $5.275 billion over Fiscal 2020, with $5 billion of that increase in emergency appropriations. The Committee’s recommended level for NIH is $8.587 billion more than the President’s original Fiscal 2021 request. 

The House Appropriations Committee provided a total of $6,908,600,000 for the National Cancer Institute, an increase of $468,158,000 or 6.7 percent over the Institute’s Fiscal 2020 level. Within NIH, the bill includes $195 million for the Cancer Moonshot initiative. 

The House Appropriations Committee Report accompanying the Fiscal 2021 LHHS Appropriations bill includes melanoma-specific language under the NCI section of the report. The Committee accepted ALL the melanoma language requested by the Melanoma Research Foundation and its numerous Congressional champions who submitted the NIH melanoma language to the Appropriations Committee. That language reads as follows: 

Melanoma — The Committee encourages NCI to continue its support of research on melanoma, including the development of experimental models to identify mechanisms and associated biomarkers, new technologies such as artificial intelligence systems for detection and classification, and clinical trials that provide population-based evidence for public health guidelines for screening and sun protection practices. In addition, the Committee encourages research on therapies for metastatic melanoma, including CNS, LMD, uveal, mucosal and pediatric melanomas; neoadjuvant therapies in trials designed to test for clinical benefit; and risk factors for recurrence. The Committee also urges NCI to continue to evaluate clinical trial eligibility criteria so that patients with brain metastases can also be included in trials whenever clinically appropriate and urges inclusion of melanoma in enhancements to the SEER registry. Finally, in the U.S., there are now more than 1.3 million survivors of melanoma. The Committee encourages further research into survivorship care for melanoma patients. The Committee requests an update on these requests in the fiscal year 2022 Congressional Justification. 

The House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal 2021 LHHS bill includes $4 million for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Skin Cancer Prevention activities, the same as the Fiscal 2020 level for the program. The MRF joined with the American Academy of Dermatology in supporting funding for CDC’s Skin Cancer Prevention activities 

Now that the House Appropriations Committee has reported out its version of the Fiscal 2021 LHHS Appropriations bill, the next step is Senate Appropriations Committee action on its version of the bill. We understand that the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet scheduled a date for marking up its version of the Fiscal 2021 LHHS Appropriations bill. Ultimate resolution of funding for NIH and the NCI will have to wait until the House and Senate conference their respective versions of the Fiscal 2021 LHHS bill, which will likely not occur until later this year.