Public Policy

The Status of Federal Appropriations: It does not look good

By Peter Kyriacopoulos, Senior Director of Public Policy, APHL

On April 15, 2011, the president signed the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 into law. Since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2010, Congress utilized 7 continuing resolutions to maintain the operations of the federal government, the most since 2003. The Full-Year bill includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 – through September 30, 2011 – along with funding for most federal agencies. Needless to say, the outlook is grim.  The bill included sizable reductions in funding, and required that the agencies report to Congress on their revised spending plans within 30 days of enactment – May 15, 2011.

Funding for CDC in the Full-Year bill is reduced by $740 million from last year to a budget authority level of $5.6 billion. This spending cut has been applied to many CDC programs that are important to the state and local governmental laboratory community, and the most significant reduction is the cut of $82 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grant, which is funded at $634 million.

Smaller reductions occur in funding for tuberculosis (-$4 million), vector-borne diseases (-$3.5 million), and emerging infectious diseases (-$3.3 million). The 2011 funding for the Environmental Health Laboratory operations at the National Center for Environmental Health goes down by $791,000 and it appears that it will not significantly affect the continuing work on the biomonitoring or the newborn screening quality assurance program.

Immunization and Respiratory Diseases is funded at $748 million ($27 million more than 2010).  Influenza is level-funded at $159 million; Seasonal Influenza is slightly reduced at $3.3 million.

HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention is slightly reduced at $1.07 billion ($2.7 million less than 2010); as noted above, TB is reduced to $141 million.

Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases will get $304 million in ($23 million more than 2010).  Within this amount, Food Safety is slightly reduced at $25 million.

Environmental Health Laboratory would get $43 million as highlighted above.

Global Health AIDS Program is level-funded at $118 million, and the Global Disease Detection Program gets $42 million ($2.3 million less than 2010).

Public Health Workforce and Career Development gets $36 million ($1.7 million less than 2010); Public Health Workforce Capacity will be funded at $25 million ($17.5 million more than 2010). Public Health Leadership and Support receives $162 million ($32 million less than 2010).

Funding for the Preventive Health and Health Services block grant is cut to $80 million ($20 million less than 2010).

We will continue to follow developments in the fiscal year 2012 spending deliberations and the debate on reforms to the federal budget process that could lead to substantial reductions in federal funding.  Unfortunately, good news is unlikely.

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