Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and the other Democratic members of the House of Representatives Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee this week called for a subcommittee hearing on the public health threats posed by the recent outbreaks of Ebola and Enterovirus D68. The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee is responsible for funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
“Since Congress left Washington last month—the earliest we have recessed in over 50 years—the Ebola virus has found its way onto American soil and Enterovirus D68 has reached almost every state and is linked to the deaths of multiple children,” wrote Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro, Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey, and subcommittee members Roybal-Allard, Barbara Lee and Mike Honda. “We have a responsibility to ensure that CDC, NIH and the other public health agencies under our jurisdiction have sufficient resources to protect the public health and are taking the appropriate actions today to address it. When Congress returns from the November elections, we will have to determine the funding necessary for these agencies to respond to these public health crises before the Continuing Resolution expires. Therefore, we urge you to convene a Subcommittee hearing this month to gather the information we need to make informed decisions for the remainder of the fiscal year.”
NIH funding has been cut by $1.2 billion over the last four years, before adjusting for inflation. Once accounting for inflation, NIH has lost more than ten percent of its purchasing power since 2010. The CDC program that supports state and local public health professionals working on the front lines has been cut by 16 percent over the last four years. The federal Hospital Preparedness program has been cut by an astounding 44 percent over the last four years.
Published: Oct. 9, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 26