On July 15, the U.S. House of Representatives reported the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill and its accompanying report. The report included provisions that the Population Association of America (PAA) proposed regarding population research activities supported by the National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development--two components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The bill, and its underlying report, will now go to the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives for further consideration. Ideally, the House will consider and pass the bill (and its report) before adjourning in early August for its annual summer break. The U.S. Senate has not announced when it plans to consider its version of the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill.
Ideally, Congress will pass and send to the President a final, reconciled version of the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill before the next fiscal year begins on October 1, 2021. If Congress fails to do so, they will need to send a continuing resolution to the President to keep the federal government fully funded and operational. PAA will continue to monitor the FY 2022 appropriations deliberations and keep its members apprised of important developments.
Population Research—The Committee applauds NICHD for supporting many of the Nation’s most used prospective, population representative longitudinal studies, including the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Supplement Survey, and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and also for supporting research and research training through the NICHD Population Dynamics Centers Research Infrastructure Program. Given the dearth of data being collected regarding the short and long-term social, economic, developmental, and health effects of the COVID pandemic on children and families, the Committee urges NICHD to consider expanding data collection and research through these existing surveys and the Centers Program. Further, the Committee encourages NICHD to explore the use of existing and new mechanisms to enhance research regarding the effect of COVID on fertility trends and reproductive health overall. Finally, the Committee urges NICHD to expand data collection and research regarding maternal, infant, child, and adolescent mortality. The Committee asks that NICHD report on its progress to enhance and expand these research and survey activities within 90 days of enactment of this Act.
Population Research—The Committee praises NIA for supporting a scientifically innovative population aging research portfolio that reflects some of the Institute’s, and Nation’s, highest scientific priorities, including Alzheimer’s disease and social inequality in health and the aging process. More research, however, is needed to understand the short and long-term social, behavioral, and economic health consequences of COVID–19 on older people and their families, which NIA is uniquely positioned to foster and support. Existing large-scale, longitudinal and panel surveys, such as the Health and Retirement Study, the National Health and Aging Trends Study, and Understanding America Study, should be enhanced to facilitate scientific research on the complex, multifaceted effects of the pandemic on older, diverse populations. Further, the Committee encourages NIA to support the further development of data infrastructure to promote research on racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities in health and well-being in later life and the long-term effects of early life experiences. The Committee asks that NIA to report on its progress to enhance and expand these research and survey activities within 90 days of enactment of this Act.