APHA opposes inadequate, flawed House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill

Date: Jul 12 2018

Contact: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913 

Washington, D.C., July 12, 2018 —The American Public Health Association today expressed its opposition to the fiscal year 2019 House Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, a partisan bill that fails to adequately fund public health.

"This legislation falls short in so many ways," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “Not only is the overall allocation for the bill far too low, it also entirely eliminates funding for key public health programs."

The bill completely eliminates funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Title X family planning program and the Department of Health and Human Services-administered Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Both of these programs have proven extremely successful in reducing unintended pregnancy among teens and adults.  The bill also cuts all funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Climate and Health program, and once again fails to fund CDC research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention. The bill also attempts to weaken the Affordable Care Act by blocking funds for implementing the law. 

However, the bill does provide important increases to CDC programs related to state and local emergency preparedness funding, as well as increases to other CDC programs to address chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, opioid overdose prevention and immunizations. Nevertheless, these increases do not make up for the other serious cuts to public health within the bill.

"Although the Senate bill also faced an overall inadequate funding allocation, they put forth a bipartisan funding package that avoided ideological cuts and provided significant increases to some key public health programs. While we appreciate the proposed increases to several important CDC programs in the House bill, they come at the expense of other essential public health programs at HRSA, CDC and the Office of Adolescent Health,” added Benjamin.

The committee also adopted amendments related to the administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which has resulted in the separation of thousands of families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"While we are pleased the committee accepted several amendments to protect migrant children and reunite families, we strongly oppose the inclusion of another amendment that would allow for the long-term detention of children and families in unlicensed facilities," said Benjamin.  

"Rather than pushing through a partisan, ideological bill, we urge the House to build on the progress made in the bipartisan fiscal year 2018 omnibus funding bill which rejected the inclusion of controversial policy riders and provided important increases for public health programs."

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