On June 22, 2009, the President signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, H.R. 1256 (P.L.111-31). The law grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products. It authorizes the agency to restrict the sale and distribution of tobacco products if the agency determines regulation is necessary to protect public health, recall harmful products, establish tobacco product standards to protect public health, and establish standards for the sale of modified-risk tobacco products.
Following unanimous conformation by the Senate, on August 11, 2009, Dr. Francis Collins was sworn in as the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Collins, a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, served as director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993-2008. In President Obama’s nomination announcement, the President noted that “The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity, and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine diseases.”
On February 17, 2009, the President signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act or ARRA). The Recovery Act provides a one-time 34 percent budget increase of $10.4 billion to the NIH. Of that amount, the NHLBI will receive approximately 10 percent of the $7.4 billion to be invested by the NIH Institutes and Centers to support scientific research; an amount that is proportional to the NHLBI’s appropriation level.
On March 11, 2009, the President signed into law H.R. 1105 (P.L. 111-8), the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The law includes the nine appropriations measures covered by the Continuing Resolution through March 11, 2009, providing funding to the NIH for the remainder of FY 2009. The HHS portion of H.R.1105 includes more than $30 billion for the 26 accounts that constitute the NIH total appropriation.
On March 9, 2009, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) removing restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. The order revokes the presidential statement of August 9, 2001, limiting federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells, and EO13435 of June 20, 2007, which supplements the August 9, 2001, statement. The EO requires the HHS Secretary, through the NIH Director, to review existing NIH and other widely-recognized guidelines on human stem cell research and issue new NIH guidance within 120 days.
On April 28, 2009, the Senate confirmed Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She was nominated by the President on March 2, 2009.
On September 30, 2008, the President signed H.R. 2638 the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-329), as a short-term measure to continue funding for most of the government, including the NIH, until March 6, 2009. The continuing resolution provides temporary funding for FY 2009, which began on October 1, 2008, for the NIH at the FY 2008 level. It does not include the supplemental FY 2008 funding provided in June to the NIH in the amount of $150 million by P.L. 110-252 (see below).
On June 30, the President signed into law H.R. 2642 (P.L. 110-252), a Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided additional funds for the 2008 fiscal year. The supplemental appropriation included $150 million for the NIH.
On October 8, 2008, the President signed into law S. 1810 (Public Law 110-374), a measure that increases the provision of information and support services to families affected by Down syndrome or another prenatally or postnatally diagnosed condition, and authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the NIH or the CDC, or the Administrator of HRSA, to award grants or contracts to coordinate the provision of evidence-based information regarding support services for those conditions.
On October 13, 2008, the President signed into law H.R. 1532 (Public Law 110-392), the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2008. The law amends the Public Health Service Act with respect to making progress toward eliminating tuberculosis and authorizes the NIH Director to expand, intensify, and coordinate tuberculosis research and development in the NIH institutes and centers.