Progress on Federal Health Funding Remains Elusive (and an Advocacy Ask)

The federal government funded this fiscal year (which started October 1) through Nov. 21 under a continuing resolution (all of the health agencies in the HHS family are finded under the current CR).

The Senate continues to struggle to complete action on its version of the FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. While the House of Representatives has passed 10 of the bills to date, the full Senate has not passed any, though several have been reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The continuing resolution also includes an extension of funding for several other important health care programs that were set to expire on Sept. 30, including the Community Health Centers and National Health Service Corps programs. 

Under the Senate draft, funding for the CDC would increase by nearly $180 million above FY 2019 levels, with most programs receiving level funding. One controversial provision in the Senate bill is the proposal to completely eliminate funding for the agency’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program – a proposal strongly opposed by APHA and many other health partners.

The House bill would provide a more than $929 million increase for CDC programs, including a $16 million increase for the REACH program, $25 million in funding for CDC to undertake gun violence prevention research and a $5 million increase in funding for CDC’s Climate and Health Program, among many other important increases.

HRSA would get an $85 million increase under the Senate bill compared to a more than $472 million increase under the House version of the bill.

On Oct. 23, 120 members of the CDC Coalition, led by APHA, and other supporting organizations sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to include the higher House funding levels for CDC in any final FY 2020 appropriations bill. The Friends of HRSA, also led by APHA, sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders on Nov. 1 urging the higher House levels for the agency in any final FY 2020 spending bill.

We’re urging our members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to prioritize strong funding for public health programs in FY 2020.