On November 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 defense appropriations bill, which provides $10 million in annual funding for the Military Burn Research Program. This would not have possible without the advocacy efforts of ABA members, who were instrumental in convincing 19 bipartisan senators to sign on to a letter requesting continued appropriations for this essential program. The House already advanced its FY 2021 defense appropriations measure on July 31, which also includes $10 million in funding for peer-reviewed burn research.
Congress is scrambling to fund the government after the current funding runs out on December 11. With the Senate committee publishing its appropriations bills, House and Senate leaders and appropriators are working to negotiate an omnibus spending package that would fund the entire government through September 30, 2021. Partisan disagreements over spending priorities as well as the uncertainty of negotiations over COVID-19 economic relief legislation could derail these efforts. If congressional leaders fail to reach an agreement on FY 2021 appropriations in the coming weeks, Congress will likely advance another short-term continuing resolution and table final decisions on FY 2021 spending into next year. Fortunately, a continuing resolution ensures sustained government funding at current levels, meaning the Military Burn Research Program is still allotted $10 million according to FY 2020 spending.