Although the new fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2020, none of the 12 annual appropriations bills funding the federal government have become law. With little time to spare, however, Congress passed, and the president signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (H.R. 8337), providing short-term fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding for federal programs at the FY 2020 funding level until Dec. 11, 2020. The continuing resolution (CR) pushes anticipated contentious funding discussions into the 116th Congress lame-duck session. Congress will need to pass a second CR in December or complete the appropriations process to provide the remaining FY 2021 funding for federally supported programs.
APA continues to urge Congress to complete the annual appropriations process to avoid disruptions in research and critical public health services. In a letter to Congress before the passage of the CR, APA joined the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF), an alliance of 92 nonprofit organizations, in urging Congress to work together to pass the FY 2021 appropriations bills as soon as possible to avoid a second CR, emphasizing the fiscal uncertainty CRs generate for public health agencies. The letter further underscored that CRs,
While providing level funding for most federal agencies, the CR adds nearly $8 billion in "vital nutrition assistance" and extends and expands the resources to families with children who otherwise would have received free or reduced-price meals at school. It also provides additional flexibility for nutrition programs. It continues the funding available for National Institutes of Health multi-year grants interrupted in FY 2020 by COVID-19 that would have expired at the end of the fiscal year. The CR also provides $122 million in additional FY 2020 funding to the Census Bureau and allows the agency to spend these funds at a faster rate through the duration of the agreement, thereby granting additional flexibility if it is needed.
APA and the broader scientific and public health communities continue to stress to Congress how critical it is to pass the 12 annual appropriations bills and include additional emergency funds for these programs in the next stimulus bill.