President to Request Funds to Fight Opioid Abuse, Cure Cancer; Hold AIDS Research Flat

The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget will be released tomorrow, but the White House previewed several proposals included in the budget last week. The President will propose spending $1 billion in new funding over two years to address the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic, an increase of about $600 million compared to the current fiscal year. Increased funding would be allocated for expanding access to state medication-assisted treatment for addiction. It would also be set aside for expanding overdose prevention efforts and improving the availability of drugs like naloxone. The President’s full budget proposal will include Medicaid guidance to the states on best practices for addressing the abuse epidemic, focusing on Medicaid pharmacy benefit management strategies. The White House will also ask Congress for $1 billion to implement the National Cancer Moonshot initiative. The budget is expected to include $755 million in mandatory funding for cancer related research activities, carried out largely through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with backing from the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. These investments will help support prevention and cancer vaccine development, early cancer detection, cancer immunotherapy and combination therapy, genomic analysis of tumors and surrounding cells, enhanced data sharing, an Oncology Center of Excellence, pediatric cancer, and the Vice President’s Exceptional Opportunities in Cancer Research Fund. Additional funding will also be included to support competitive research. Details on how federal agencies will spend funds included in the FY 2016 appropriations package will also be included in the President’s FY 2017 budget request. For example, the NIH have confirmed that its spending on AIDS research would be $3 billion in FY 2016, the same level as the previous budget year.

TPP Deal Signed

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement last week during a ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand with the 11 other TPP nations. The President was granted fast-track authority for the TPP pact by Congress in June 2015. This authority allows Congress to vote on the agreement but not amend it. The President first released the text of the agreement in November 2015, but has not indicated when he will send enabling legislation to Congress. Under the fast-track negotiating authority, March is the earliest he could sign the legislation should it be approved by Congress. Since the agreement is opposed by most Democratic members, the administration will now begin engaging pro-trade Democrats and Republican members to help address any of their concerns.

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