The Federal Government is operating under a short term Continuing Resolution through December 9.
ASPPH shares its policy priorities with the presidential candidates.
Cancer Moonshot initiative panels deliver their final reports.
Government Operating Under a Continuing Resolution
On September 28, Congress cleared a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running after the October 1 start of the new fiscal year (FY 2017) and the President signed the measure on September 29. The bill keeps Federal agencies functioning until Friday, December 9. The measure also includes $1.1 billion in Zika-related funding and $500 million in emergency disaster aid, mostly for the flooding in Louisiana. The bill does not include funding to address the Flint water crisis, but a separate agreement makes such funding a high priority in the lame duck session following the November 8 election. Following passage of the CR, both chambers adjourned until the lame duck session. The lame duck session will formally begin with a pro forma session on Veterans Day (November 11).
Details on the CR: The Continuing Resolution (H.R. 5325) was approved on September 28th by the House (by a vote of 342-85) and the Senate (by a vote of 72-26). The CR applies a small (0.496 percent) cut to all accounts to maintain the earlier budget agreement levels. Some spending changes are included to adjust for known future expenses (for example, for the inauguration), statutory changes (for example, for the recent changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act), and other minor adjustments. None of the so called “anomalies” impact programs of importance to ASPPH. The bill does include $37 million in new spending to implement some of the new opioid abuse initiatives enacted earlier this year. However, the rate that the new funding could be expended is limited. The CR does not cover the agencies covered by the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. That funding bill, which had earlier been agreed to but held up due to the Zika funding dispute, was included as a separate title in the CR bill, to allow it to be enacted. It ends up being the only one of the 12 regular appropriations bills to be enacted before the start of the fiscal year.
The Senate and House Appropriations Committees have approved differing version of the fiscal year 2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Neither bill has reached the full House or Senate. Most of ASPPH’s legislative priorities fared well, with key program accounts funded at the same level as in FY 2016. Details are available online. The final FY 2017 funding levels will be determined during the lame duck session.
Details on the Zika Funding: The Zika funding provisions in the bill, which were included as a separate section, total just over $1.1 billion. Gone are poison pills that might impact Planned Parenthood and waive Clean Water Act regulations related to some pesticides. Also gone are most of the funding offsets. The spending includes:
$394M for a range of Zika-related activities at CDC;
$152M for vaccine development, diagnostics, and research at NIH;
$175M for State Department, USAID, and related accounts for Zika-related activities; and
$387M for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, of which $245M would go to BARDA for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, etc. and $141M for health care services. The $141M includes $75M for health care services for Zika in general; $40M for Community Health Centers in Puerto Rico and the territories; $20M for Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant SPRANS projects in Puerto Rico and the territories; and $6M for National Health Service Corps in Puerto Rico and the territories.
ASPPH Shares Policy Priorities with Presidential Candidates
On September 1, ASPPH released a new white paper, Academic Public Health’s Priorities For America, to the Presidential transition teams. The document focuses on advancing public health education, science, and practice as the basis of improving population health. ASPPH calls on the new Administration to make public health a national priority and advance the research, training, and action necessary to protect and promote health for all our citizens.
The 12-page set of priorities that the Association asks the Presidential candidates to endorse begins by listing a set of prospective accomplishments that the elected President could announce in their second inaugural address and at the end of the 45th President’s first term. The Association asserts that the President can cite all of these proposed accomplishments “by supporting strategic investments that strengthen the Nation’s public health infrastructure and global health security, advance prevention science research, train the next generation, and establish policies and systems built on evidence of what supports the best health and that advances a culture of health.”
The Association’s white paper was written by the ASPPH Legislative Committee, under the leadership of Howard Frumkin (Washington). Input from deans and primary representatives was included in the final document following extensive discussion at the Association’s Leadership Retreat in July. The final white paper was approved by the ASPPH Board. The paper offers four overarching policy priorities and scores of more specific policy recommendations. The four overarching priorities are:
Ensure every American has the opportunity for a healthy life through initiatives that promote health, including mental health, and that:
Prevent disease, injury, and disability.
Integrate affordable, quality medical care with public health.
Eliminate health inequities and promote social justice.
Educate the next generation of skilled, highly competent public health professionals.
Increase investment in public health research by:
Rebalancing the research portfolio of the National Institutes of Health to address population-wide health threats and to advance prevention research.
Identifying and expanding the public health research portfolios of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other relevant Federal agencies.
Strengthen U.S. leadership and investment in global public health.
ASPPH Endorses Cancer Moon Shot Blue Ribbon Panel Report; Highlights Prevention Investment Recommendations
The report of the Cancer Moonshot’s NCI Blue Ribbon Panel was released on September 7. The report highlights research focus areas to help guide the Moon Shot initiative, which aims to accomplish 10 years’ worth of progress fighting cancer in half that time. One section of the report makes recommendations related to cancer prevention and early detection. The recommendations were accepted by the National Cancer Advisory Board, the NCI, and NIH and passed along to the Vice President and the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Several knowledgeable experts in public health and prevention served on the NCI’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, and additional, stellar individuals from ASPPH member schools and programs served on the committees that drafted the Panel’s recommendations.
In a letter to Vice President Biden on September 8, ASPPH Chair Gary Raskob (Oklahoma) wrote, “ASPPH strongly endorses the report of the Blue Ribbon Panel. In particular, we commend to your attention the recommendations on Prevention and Early Detection: Implementation of Evidence-Based Approaches.” Dr. Raskob also said that the Association was “gratified that the Panel noted, ‘Importantly, primary prevention is ripe for enabling by Cancer Moonshot funds, which can be used to learn how to better implement interventions that we know are effective at reducing cancer risk in the first place.’”
Vice President Biden on October 17 delivered the final report of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force to President Obama. The heads of 20 federal agencies serve on the Task Force, which is chaired by Mr. Biden. The report complements the National Cancer Institute’s Blue Ribbon Panel report. The two reports conclude the current Moonshot initiative. The Task Force’s report outlines five strategic goals and for each outlines year one accomplishments and plans, as well as plans for year two and beyond. The strategic goals are:
Strategic Goal 1 – Catalyze New Scientific Breakthroughs
Strategic Goal 2 – Unleash the Power of Data
Strategic Goal 3 – Accelerate Bringing New Therapies to Patients
Strategic Goal 4 – Strengthen Prevention and Diagnosis
Strategic Goal 5 – Improve Patient Access and Care
In the ceremony presenting the task force report to the President, both VP Biden and President Obama reiterated their call for Congress to provide additional appropriations to implement the recommendations.
ASPPH has released a new white paper, Academic Public Health’s Priorities For America, to the Presidential transition teams. The document focuses on advancing public health education, science, and practice as the basis of improving population health. ASPPH calls on the new Administration to make public health a national priority and advance the research, training, and action necessary to protect and promote health for all our citizens. Congress on September 28 cleared a short term Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating through December 9, 2016. The measure also provided $1.1 billion in funding to address the Zika crisis.
The Senate and House Appropriations Committees have approved differing version of the fiscal year 2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Most of ASPPH’s legislative priorities fared well, with key program accounts funded at the same level as in FY 2016.The bill is not expected to be considered by the full House or Senate. Instead, a continuing resolution will likely be enacted to fund the covered agencies until a lame duck session after the November elections. Supplemental funding to address the Zika crisis did not clear Congress before it adjourned for the summer. The Blue Ribbon Committee created to inform the Cancer Moonshot is scheduled to report in August.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9 approved its version of the fiscal year 2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Most of ASPPH’s legislative priorities fared well, with key program accounts funded at the same level as in FY 2016. The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to consider its version of the bill in late June. The bill is not expected to be considered by the full House or Senate. Instead, a continuing resolution will likely be enacted to fund the covered agencies until a lame duck session after the November elections.