APHA statement on Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill

Date: Jun 29 2018

Contact: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913 

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2018 —The American Public Health Association today thanked Chairman Roy Blunt, Ranking Member Patty Murray, the members of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee for their bipartisan approach to the fiscal year 2019 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, and for maintaining important funding for key public health programs and activities. 

“We are pleased with the bipartisan nature of this bill,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “Nevertheless, we are disappointed with the allocation provided for the Labor-HHS-Education bill, which is simply too low to allow for the needed increases to many important public health programs. These programs ensure our public health workforce is prepared to perform its important day-to-day responsibilities and act in times of crisis.”

However, APHA recognized important increases to programs that address emergency preparedness, maternal mortality and opioids as well as funding to continue CDC’s Zika pregnancy study. The bill also provides important increases for HRSA programs that address maternal and child health, rural health and the health workforce. APHA thanked the committee for rejecting the inclusion of controversial policy riders and ideological funding cuts to important programs, such as Title X funding for family planning services and CDC’s Climate and Health program. 

Unfortunately, with the resources available and competing priorities within the bill, many programs under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Resources and Services Administration saw level funding. Most of these activities remain underfunded. Additional resources are needed to keep pace with the growing demands on public health. 

APHA is disappointed that the bill once again fails to provide any funding for CDC to conduct public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention. APHA is concerned with the committee’s recommendation to cut $15 million from CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, a crucial element of the national effort to reduce racial health disparities. 

Benjamin added, “We are hopeful that as we continue through the appropriations process, the House and Senate will work in a bipartisan manner to restore any proposed cuts and increase funding  for important public health programs that are essential in our efforts to better protect the public’s health.”

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APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit us at www.apha.org