Friday, 16 June 2017 09:27

ASM Letter to Congress on FY 2018 CDC Appropriations

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) urges Congress to reject the extreme budget cuts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that are included in the Administration’s FY 2018 budget request. The CDC’s prevention, preparedness, and education efforts are essential to protect the Nation’s public health. We ask Congress to continue its strong support of CDC programs that are so integral to our public health systems.

The President’s budget proposes a devastating decrease of about $1.2 billion below the FY 2017 level for the CDC. Within that request, there are budget cuts and organizational changes that subvert CDC activities to prevent and respond to infectious diseases. The proposed cuts pose real risks to the American public. The proposed cuts include taking $26 million from the Antimicrobial Resistance (AR) solutions program and moving the reduced program to the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which itself would be deleted in FY 2019 under the American Health Care Act (AHCA) recently passed by the House. The ASM opposes the AHCA’s elimination of the Fund, not only because of potential loss of a crucial AR program, but also because the repeal of PPHF without a corresponding increase in CDC program funding would leave obvious funding gaps in critical public health programs. More than 12 percent of the CDC budget is administered through PPHF, including support for immunization programs and laboratory capacity grants.

There are other worrisome reductions in the President’s FY 2018 CDC budget request that would seriously weaken programs of clear importance to protecting Americans from disease outbreaks at home and abroad; including reductions from Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (11%); Global Health (18%); HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and TB (17%); and Immunization (10.5%). In addition, another PPHF program that addresses healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) would be cut $12 million, at a time when HAIs are a growing problem in the United States.

In recent years, federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector have intensified their efforts to counter growing threats like drug resistant pathogens, emerging diseases like Zika and Ebola infections, and global transmission of infectious diseases. CDC programs and agency staff have been key partners in these efforts, which must be sustained during FY 2018. The ASM appreciates this opportunity to voice its alarm to Congress concerning the proposed cuts to the FY 2018 budget for CDC. We appeal to Congress to sustain needed CDC funding when considering the FY 2018 budget. Sincerely,

Susan Sharp, Ph.D., President, American Society for Microbiology
Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., CEO, American Society for Microbiology
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., Chair, ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board