Congress did right by public health in the FY 2018 budget it passed recently, according to the American Public Health Association (APHA).

“By increasing funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and other health agencies, Congress has shown its commitment to improving the health of all communities and investing in activities that keep our country healthy and safe,” according to a statement released by the organization.

Chairmen Roy Blunt and Tom Cole, Ranking Members Patty Murray and Rosa DeLauro and other leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees were singled out for praise for their leadership in securing funding for key health agencies and programs.

The APHA says the omnibus package would create new financial support to strengthen the public health workforce. “After years of tightening budgets, raising spending levels to train and equip the public health workforce is a meaningful investment in the field’s future and will benefit millions of Americans.”

The omnibus bill increases the CDC’s overall budget by more than $800 million annually - funding that will enable the agency to better fulfill its mission of protecting America from health, safety and security threats. The bill increases funding for CDC programs including Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, the National Violent Death Reporting System and global health programs. The bill also includes nearly $500 million for opioid prescription drug overdose prevention activities and maintains critical funding to address the health impacts of climate change.

The APHA says it is “encouraged” by language included in the bill that allows the CDC to fund research on gun violence prevention – and hopes Congress will provide new resources for gun violence research in fiscal year 2019 appropriations.

HRSA’s budget would increase by more than $500 million annually, with significant new funding for programs including primary health care, health workforce, maternal and child health, health care systems, rural health and program management, mental health and substance abuse disorders, community health centers and the National Health Service Corps.

“After repeated calls for Congress to engage in bipartisan spending negotiations and to invest in public health, APHA is pleased to see spending levels for health agencies increased and cooperation restored.”