Appropriations and PRC Funding Update

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on November 23, 2021 # Advocacy and Policy

The US Capitol The appropriation of federal tax dollars is the most important task the United States Congress undertakes each year, and each year the process is not without its surprises.

For example, over three straight years, President Trump’s budget request called for the elimination of funding for the National Paralysis Resource Center (NPRC), which the Reeve Foundation has operated for nearly 20 years. Thankfully, through the dedicated advocacy of the paralysis and spinal cord injury communities, not only did President Trump restore a call for full NPRC funding in his last year’s budget request, but as a community, we successfully urged Congress to include that funding in the House bill, and ultimately Congress passed a spending bill with $9.7 million for the NPRC.

This year’s developments, however, are much more welcomed.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the NPRC has included an additional $1 million for the NPRC in their draft bill. This would allow the NPRC to expand its services and reach more communities across the country. This could be a huge win for the paralysis community.

So how did this happen? First, here is some background on this issue.

In early spring, Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) circulated a “dear colleague” letter to other members of the House of Representatives urging them to support level funding for the NPRC at $9.7m for FY’22. That letter received signatures from a bipartisan group of 18 Representatives from districts all over the country.

In July, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services completed their FY’ 22 appropriations bills, which included the level funding of $9.7 million for which we advocated. The full House of Representatives passed that bill later that month.

Then in September, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) sent an evaluation report to Congress on the effectiveness of a state-run pilot program versus the work of the NPRC. The report showed that the national NPRC was more effective at serving the needs of the paralysis and spinal cord injury communities.

ACL’s evaluation report was influential in helping the Senate appropriators decide on how to proceed. They released their own draft language for Labor HHS appropriations on October 18, and we were thrilled to learn they’ve decided to redirect the $1 million dollars previously used for the state pilots to the National Paralysis Resource Center.

Again, this is big news. But it is important to remember the process is not over yet.

Congress is currently funding the government under a “continuing resolution” or “CR” (funding at previous year’s levels) through December 3. At that point, there are four possible paths forward:

  • the House and Senate can reconcile the differences in their separate appropriations bills through a conferencing committee and come to a resolution on a final, omnibus spending bill for FY22;
  • Congress could pass another short-term CR for a matter of weeks or months;
  • Congress could pass a year-long CR setting final levels for this year at last year’s levels;
  • Congress could come to no resolution or agreement, resulting in a government shutdown.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will report any significant developments to advocates. In the meantime, we are grateful Congress continues to support the work of the NPRC and is advocating for the inclusion of the Senate language in any final legislation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.