House to Vote on Bill to Increase HHS Funding, Including Resources for Blood Donor Education and Next-Generation Blood Products

July 13, 2022

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on the fiscal year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill, which funds agencies and programs in the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education.

The bill would provide HHS with $124.2 billion, an increase of $15.6 billion above the FY 2022-enacted level. This amount includes $47.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $10.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $9.6 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), $3.14 billion for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and $2.75 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

In a report that accompanies the bill, the House Appropriations Committee outlined funding for several programs and initiatives of interest to the blood and biotherapies community.

Within HRSA, the National Cord Blood Inventory would receive $19.2 million. This includes funding to further strengthen communication and collaboration between HRSA and cord blood banks through quarterly calls. The C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program would receive $30 million to continue its efforts to reduce barriers to transplantation for patients.

Within ASPR, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would receive $845 million. The Committee urged BARDA to continue investments in blood technologies, including the completion of ongoing clinical trials for nucleic acid-targeted pathogen-reduction technology to improve red blood cell transfusion safety.

Within NIH, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) would receive $3.94 billion. In its report, the Committee urged NHLBI to evaluate the need for additional research studies to inform the Food and Drug Administration on removing or replacing the recommended deferment of blood for men who have had sex with men in the last three months. Additionally, the Committee recommended $1 million in funding for outreach and education to individuals who may become eligible to donate blood due to potential updates to FDA's deferral guidelines.

The Committee also encouraged NHLBI to continue to prioritize research to support the development of a treatment approach for sickle cell disease (SCD), improve SCD and sickle cell trait screening, and fund the training of more SCD clinicians and researchers.

The report also referenced thalassemia, with the Committee noting the short, 42-day shelf life of blood and urging NHLBI to establish research initiatives focused impact of older red blood cells on patients who require chronic transfusion.

AABB will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and provide updates as they are available.