A Busy Week on Capitol Hill
Washington, DC -- With politics moving at breakneck speed, NEHA is focused on fighting for, and keeping you informed about, the issues that affect you most as environmental health professionals.
Affordable Care Act Repeal
Yesterday, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was passed by a count of 217 to 213 in the Republican-controlled House, repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The AHCA cuts Medicare by $800 billion, offers a questionable solution to insuring individuals with preexisting conditions, and slashes funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—representing 12% of CDC’s overall budget, with the majority of funds distributed to state and local health departments.
“NEHA is working day and night with our partners to prevent these and all cuts to CDC’s budget from happening, and we will continue to keep our environmental health professionals updated through the process,” stated Joanne Zurcher, NEHA’s Government Affairs director.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democrats have made it clear that they will unanimously oppose it in its current form. On Thursday, Senate Republicans said they will not vote on the House-passed bill, but that a new "Gang of 12" is writing their own legislation instead.
Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
To prevent a government shutdown this week, the House and Senate passed an Omnibus appropriations bill that President Trump will sign. The FY 2017 Omnibus bill contains the funding necessary to support operation of the federal government through September 30, 2017.
The final program level for CDC in the FY 2017 bill is $7.165 billion, a $13 million cut from the FY 2016 level of $7.178 billion.
The biggest cut by far was to the Heart Disease and Diabetes programs, which were both reduced by $30 million. The biggest increase went to the Injury Center for opioid abuse prevention activities with a $50 million increase.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received only a 1% cut in its budget.
Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
The House Budget Committee tentatively plans to mark up a budget resolution after the Memorial Day break, while the Senate Budget Committee may not get to work on one until later in June. That timeline would leave barely four months to complete all 12 regular appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins.
House Republicans are considering vying for around $500 billion in cuts to mandatory spending in their FY 2018 resolution. While the Senate Budget Committee has not given a number, they have also stated that mandatory spending is on the chopping block.
President Trump’s full budget is expected to be released by the end of May.
About the National Environmental Health Association
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is a professional society with more than 5,000 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. NEHA's mission, "To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA to advance the environmental health professional through credentialing, training, education, networking, professional development, and policy involvement opportunities. Learn more about NEHA at www.neha.org.