Busy Week Before July 4th Recess
Health Action on the House Floor. This week the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 7666 Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, along with several amendments to the bill. The bill, which passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, reauthorizes and provides funding for many standing mental health and substance use disorder programs. We are still waiting for a mental health package from the Ways and Means Committee. The Senate Finance Committee has released discussion drafts focusing on children/youth mental health and tele-mental health services in the Senate. However, a full Finance Committee package is not yet developed. The Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee also released a bill that focuses on funding a number of mental health and substance use disorder programs. Beyond the vote in the House on H.R. 7666, the next steps on the mental health package remain unclear, but we continue to look to the Lame Duck session as the most likely avenue for mental health legislation.
The House of Representatives is also slated to vote on H.R. 5585 – Advanced Research Projects Agency–Health Act, which establishes the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H) and authorizes $500 million annually for its programs between 2023 and 2027. A sticking point for ARPA-H is where it will be housed – as an independent agency in the Department of the Health and Human Services (HHS) or within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The House version has ARPA-H as an independent agency within HHS, while the Senate bill (S. 3799) has ARPA-H within NIH (which is how the Administration has the agency set up now).
This week Congress is also trying to move a gun-violence prevention bill and USICA. However, there are only a few days left before Congress takes a two-week recess, and we return to a very short stretch in session before the August break. This leaves little time to continue negotiations without a break in momentum. Additionally, this is all happening as the Supreme Court will likely rule on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization within days, which can also upend processes in Washington, DC.