Washington Report — Dec. 17, 2014: House and Senate Approve $1.1 Trillion “Cromnibus”
House and Senate Approve $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus”
Following the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, Congress reconvened for a lame-duck session to consider a Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill before the previous Continuing Resolution (CR) expired on Dec. 11, 2014. Congressional leaders unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending bill early last week that included a number of important funding items for Fiscal Year 2015. One notable exclusion was language to extend important tax breaks and credits, including the research and development tax credit. The House and Senate approved this legislation late last week and President Obama is slated to sign the bill. Referred to as the “Cromnibus”—a clever combination of “continuing resolution” and “omnibus”—the measure contains the following important provisions:
- Overall Fiscal Year 2015 Funding: The $1.1 trillion spending bill funds the federal government through Fiscal Year 2015 (ending on Sept. 30, 2015).
- NIH: The legislation includes $30 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $150 million above the FY14 funding level, with specific increases for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and brain research, and $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act pediatric research initiative.
- FDA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a total of $2.6 billion, an increase of $37 million over the FY14 enacted level, with modest increases for the agency to address pharmacy compounding, antimicrobial resistance monitoring, counterfeit drugs and foreign drug safety; notably, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) and Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) were level-funded.
- ACA Implementation: Although the legislation does not reduce funding for the primary agencies responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the bill does limit the ACA’s risk corridor provisions.
- Ebola Outbreak and Biodefense Activities: The legislation includes funding for critical disease prevention and biodefense research activities, including $5.4 billion in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In addition, $30 million will support the Advanced Molecular Detection initiative to enhance the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) ability to find and stop deadly infectious disease outbreaks and $1.3 billion for Public Health Preparedness and Response to help ensure ample resources for State and Local Preparedness programs that provide supplies and resources for a quick and effective response in the event of a bio-terrorism attack or pandemic disease event.
Senate Passes Short-Term Tax Extender Package
Last evening, the Senate approved a two-week tax extender package, which includes a short term extension of the research and development (R&D) tax credit, and also allows taxpayers to claim a number of tax credits and breaks on their 2014 tax returns. Although Majority Leader Reid had negotiated a two-year extension deal with House Republican leaders, a veto threat was issued by the White House due to the exclusion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The package passed last evening will expire on Dec. 31, 2014, and Congress will have to act in 2015 to extend the expiring provisions for another year.
CHI Joins Successful Effort to Fully Fund Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act
In early Dec., CHI joined 69 advocacy groups in sending a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in strong support of full implementation and funding authorized by the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-94).
Named in memory of a young girl who lost her courageous battle against brain cancer, the Kids First Research Act was sponsored by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), with strong support from then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). The law, enacted in Jan. 2014, makes a modest, yet important effort to reallocate scarce public resources to support pediatric research sponsored by the NIH. CHI was an early endorser of the legislation when it was introduced in the House last year, and a copy of our July 2013 letter of endorsement is available here.
CHI was pleased to see that in response to the advocacy of CHI and others, the Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill passed by the House and Senate last week provides full funding – $12.6 million in FY15 alone – for the pediatric research initiative. A copy of the Dec. 2014 stakeholder letter calling for full funding of the program is available on our website here.
Final California Delegation Election Results
November’s mid-term elections brought changes to the 53-member California congressional delegation with 47 incumbents returning to Washington to serve in the 114th Congress and six new members joining their ranks as part of the freshman class. These new members join a large 13-member sophomore class, meaning that 19 members of California’s congressional delegation in the 114th Congress will be serving in just their first or second term in federal office.
As our previous Washington Report went to press, three incumbent races were still considered too close to call. Ultimately, incumbents in all three races – Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA-52), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA-7) and Jim Costa (D-CA-16) – secured victory and will return to Washington to serve in the 114th Congress.
New Members of the Freshman Class:
- State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11) will replace retiring 20-term incumbent Rep. George Miller (D).
- State Sen. Steve Knight (R-CA-25) will replace retiring Rep. Buck McKeon (R) in Los Angeles/Ventura County.
- Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D-CA-31) will replace retiring Rep. Gary (R) Miller in this Inland Empire seat.
- State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) will replace retiring 20-term incumbent Rep. Henry Waxman (D) in Santa Monica/Los Angeles County.
- State Sen. Norma Torres (D-CA-35) will replace retiring freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) in this Inland Empire seat.
- State Sen. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45) will replace retiring Rep. John Campbell (R) in this Orange/San Diego County congressional district.
Returning Members of the Sophomore Class:
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1)
- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA-2)
- Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA-7)
- Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA-8)
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15)
- Rep. David Valadao (R-CA-21)
- Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA-26)
- Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29)
- Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA-36)
- Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA-41)
- Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47)
- Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA-51)
- Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52)
(Note: the fourteenth member of the 113th Congress’ freshman class, Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA-35), retired after one term to seek election to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.)
CHI is well positioned to represent the state’s life sciences sector in the upcoming Congress, having held numerous meetings and developed strong relationships with returning and newly elected members. We are excited for the opportunity to engage with these new legislators to help them better understand and appreciate our state’s unique biomedical innovation ecosystem, and become familiar with the important federal policy.
In Nov., CHI released a comprehensive election newsletter, providing detailed results for Federal and State Races. Our Washington and Sacramento Election Report is available here.
California Delegation Leadership Roles
Several members of the California congressional delegation will be taking on new leadership roles in the 114th Congress, growing the impact these members can have on key federal issues. CHI looks forward to working closely with these members on a wide range of policy issues including NIH research funding, FDA regulatory processes, CMS payment and access policies, as well as tax, trade, and intellectual property policies – all which collectively drive our nation’s biomedical innovation sector.
- Sophomore Rep. Tony C√°rdenas (D-Los Angeles) secured one of the six open Democratic slots on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was also selected to head up the main fundraising arm for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the BOLD PAC.
- Congresswoman-elect Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) secured a spot on the Republican’s Elected Leadership Committee (ELC). In this role, she will serve as the representative of the 2014 freshman class to the House Republican leadership. She will also join the House Judiciary Committee.
- Congressman-elect Ted Lieu (D-Santa Monica) will serve as the Democratic 2014 freshman class president.
- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) will chair the House Intelligence Committee.
- Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has been named a co-chair of the increasingly influential New Democrat Coalition.
- Rep. Linda S√°nchez (D-Whittier) has been elected chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).
- Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Silicon Valley) narrowly lost her race to become the new Ranking member of the full House Energy & Commerce Committee, a role vacated by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman. The Democrats’ Steering & Policy Committee voted 30-19 to appoint Eshoo to the post; however, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) had enough support to appeal to the full caucus for a vote, where he won by a very close vote of 100-90. In the 113th Congress, Pallone served as ranking member of the Health Subcommittee, while Eshoo was the top Democrat on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. With Pallone’s ascension to full Committee Ranking Member, the Health Subcommittee top slot is now open. Eshoo is expected to retain her position atop the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
CHI and PwC Release 2015 California Biomedical Industry Report Illustrating California Dominance in Life Science Industry Growth
In Nov., CHI and PwC released our annual California Biomedical Industry Report, illustrating California’s continued dominance over other states in life sciences industry growth. With a 4 percent increase between 2009 and 2013, the report indicates that while biopharmaceutical and medical device employment in other top-ranked states such as New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania has decreased in recent years, employment in California is growing. In fact, California employment in the life sciences has surpassed that of other major state industries, such as aerospace, electronic equipment manufacturing, telecommunications and data processing. Click here to view the full report.
The California Biomedical Industry Report demonstrates that the life sciences sector continues to drive the state’s economy with over 270,000 people employed by over 2,600 companies, with average wages topping $100,000. In addition, California is home to 11 of the world’s top universities, receiving more federal biomedical research dollars than any other state in the nation. Click here to view an op-ed from CHI President & CEO Todd Gillenwater published in The Sacramento Bee regarding the report and the state of the industry.
- California life sciences companies generated $101 billion in revenue in 2013.
- California scientists received $3.3 billion in NIH research grants in federal fiscal year 2014.
- The industry paid workers $27.4 billion in salaries and wages during 2013.
- California has 2,636 life sciences companies in 2014.
- $3.8 billion in life sciences venture capital is projected to be invested in California companies in 2014.
- California companies have 1,205 new medicines in the development pipeline.
CHI Enjoys Record Attendance at Annual End-of-Year Reception in Washington, D.C.
CHI’s End-of-Year Reception annually convenes a wide range of government officials, legislators, staff and biomedical industry leaders in an informal setting to meet and talk one-on-one about the importance of biomedical innovation and scientific advancement in California and globally. Our Dec. 10 event saw record attendance with more than 200 attendees, including six federal legislators and staff from 15 congressional personal, leadership and committee offices. – See more at: http://www.chi.org/news/washington-report-dec-17-2014-house-senate-approve-1-1-trillion-cromnibus/#sthash.aVc8fnOC.dpuf
We want to acknowledge and thank our event sponsors for their generous support: Abbott, AbbVie, Allergan, Amgen, Astellas, Biogen Idec, East End Group, Endo, FaegreBD Consulting, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, McDermott Consulting, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Shire, St. Jude Medical, Takeda, Theravance Biopharma, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and XOMA.
CHI Hosts Productive 2014 Annual Meeting at Stanford University
This year’s Annual Meeting, themed “Driving Innovation in a Transforming Healthcare Environment,” brought together more than 200 executives from CHI’s member organizations with policymakers to discuss critical issues and opportunities facing the biomedical community. Through impactful speakers and thought-provoking discussion, the forum produced a clear understanding of the sector’s work and policy needs, and how the industry can sustain California’s leadership in medical innovation. For the top 10 takeaways from the Annual Meeting, click here.