Public health experts have mixed reactions to 2016 spending bill
The American Public Health Association (APHA) says it supports the fiscal year 2016 omnibus spending bill – although it’s not happy with everything in it.
The year-end agreement funds the government through September 2016 and provides modest increases of $278 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $34.8 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration. The bill strongly bolsters funding for a range of programs, including CDC’s efforts to address antibiotic resistance and the prescription drug overdose epidemic. It provides a modest increase for the agency’s climate and health activities. The bill also provides significant new resources to the Food and Drug Administration for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act.
However, APHA is disappointed that the bill did not eliminate language that restricts CDC from conducting gun violence research.
"This omnibus is far from perfect, and public health remains woefully underfunded," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "While we are pleased Congress was able to provide additional resources for some programs, until we fully eliminate sequestration, we will not be able to adequately fund all of the important public health programs that will help ensure we become the healthiest nation in one generation."
APHA is also pleased that a host of ideological policy actions that would have harmed public health were not included in the bill, therefore allowing:
- continued federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America;
- full implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and strengthened standards for ozone pollution; and
- FDA to move forward with regulation of e-cigarettes.
"We urge Congress and the president to approve the measure and work to strengthen investments in programs that support and protect public health going forward," Benjamin said.