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Monthly Briefing

Monthly Briefing

May 2015 Monthly Briefing

The Bottom Line

  • Congressional action on fiscal year 2016 appropriations bills has begun in earnest with the approval of budget allocations in the House.
  • The Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee will need to work with $3.7B less than last year.
  • Overall, the FY 2016 budget resolution set the non-defense discretionary spending level at $493.5 billion in fiscal year 2016, essentially the same as in fiscal year 2015.
  • As has become normal, the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill is expected to be the last (and most difficult to pass) of the appropriations measures to be considered.

What's New

Senate Defeats Effort to Repeal Prevention Fund

An amendment offered on April 22 by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) to repeal the $10 billion Prevention Fund and to use part of those funds to reauthorize the $10 million Runaway and Homeless Youth Act failed by a vote of 45-53. Sixty votes were necessary to adopt the amendment under an earlier agreement. ASPPH wrote to key Senators in opposition to the amendment, citing the valuable programs funded by the Prevention Fund. Additional attacks on the Prevention Fund are expected throughout the year.

Congressional Public Health Caucus Formed

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) have announced the formation of a bipartisan Congressional Public Health Caucus in the House of Representatives. The caucus “will serve as a formal group of members whose mission is to raise awareness of the importance of public health issues, and will provide educational opportunities for Members of Congress and their staff.” The leaders and faculty of schools and programs of public health are asked to encourage their local representatives to join and actively participate in the Caucus. ASPPH has been in communication with Reps. Green and Wittman’s offices offering support for the Caucus’ activities.

White House Announces Climate Change-Related Public Health Initiatives, Including a Health Professions Education Coalition

President Obama has announced a number of new climate change initiatives focused on reducing its health impacts. Among the initiatives, the White House announced the formation of “a coalition of Deans from 30 medical, public health, and nursing schools around the country, who are committing to ensure that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change.” It is not clear how the participating institutions were selected. According to a White House fact sheet, on April 9 White House Senior Advisor Brian Deese hosted a number of deans for a roundtable discussion around climate change and health. The White House also announced it will host a Climate Change and Public Health Summit later this spring, “featuring the Surgeon General, to bring together public health, medical, and other health professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the public health impacts of climate change and identify opportunities to minimize these impacts.”

Climate Change and Public Health Legislation Endorsed

Congresswoman Louise Capps (D-CA) recently introduced H.R. 1275, the Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act. The bill would direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, working through the CDC, “to publish a National Strategic Action Plan to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change on public health.” The bill would also require the Institute of Medicine to issue a report assessing domestic and international climate change and public health needs, and recommend programs to address those needs. ASPPH has joined several other public health leadership organizations in endorsing the bill.

Coalitions Announce FY 2016 Funding Requests

Key coalitions recently issued their fiscal year 2016 funding recommendations for agencies of interest to ASPPH:

NIH Seeks Input on Sustainability Strategies

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has posted a Request for Information (RFI) “to solicit input regarding the possible development of new policies and other strategies to improve the impact and sustainability of the NIH-funded biomedical research enterprise.” The NIH said it “is especially interested in identifying strategies that will: a) maximize the productivity and creativity of the biomedical research workforce it funds, and b) ensure funding for a broad and diverse group of investigators studying a wide range of important questions.” NIH is inviting comments in the following areas:

Responses will be accepted through May 17, 2015.

 

Administration Issues Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The Administration has issued a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria, “a roadmap to guide the Nation in rising to this challenge.” The plan was developed in response to an Executive Order issued by President Obama in September 18. The plan outlines five goals:

Separately, the White House announced the creation of a Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and is soliciting nominations for appointment to the Council membership. Nominations are due by April 30.

Previous Month's Briefings

February 2015 Monthly Briefing

President Obama released his proposed fiscal year 2016 budget on February 2. He is proposing $31.3B for NIH, a $1B increase or +3.3%. For the CDC, he is proposing $11.5B, an increase of $250M or +2.2%. The budget proposal would level fund the HRSA Public Health Training Centers and the CDC Prevention Research Centers. The President would not fund the Public Health Traineeships, the Academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness, and the NIOSH Education and Research and Agricultural Forestry and Fishing Centers. The budget proposes a 25% increase for the NIH Office of Disease Prevention to enhance its activities implementing its Strategic Plan (+$2 million to $9.91 million).

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December 2014 Monthly Briefing

President Obama on December 16th signed into law the omnibus fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill to fund most federal agencies until September 30, 2015. Congress has given final approval to the measure on December 13th. All of the ASPPH’s priority accounts were level funded. The agreement provides a total of $5.3 billion in Ebola emergency spending, of which $2.742 billion goes to HHS agencies, including $1.771 billion to the CDC.

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November 2014 Monthly Briefing

The Congressional elections are finally over. The Lame Duck Congress now must reach an agreement to keep the government funded after the current continuing resolution expires on December 11. A long- or short-term continuing resolution to extend current funding until the new Congress is in place is a possibility. The Lame Duck Congress also will consider an emergency Ebola funding proposal from the Obama Administration.

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