Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Alert
Subcommittee Markup: Thursday, July 13 at 4:30 PM
Every year, Congress must pass appropriations bills that fund all federal agencies and set the funding levels for all federal programs. We are particularly concerned that there may be significant funding cuts to health programs in the upcoming fiscal year, including those that are important to adults with CHDs. If we don’t advocate for the programs most important to us, no one else will and Congress might take those dollars to fund other programs.
We are most interested in the bill that funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (the Labor-HHS bill), since this funds CHD activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). These programs are important because:
- The CDC funds surveillance and awareness activities to address public health impact of CHD across the lifespan.
- The NIH funds biomedical research that seeks to develop innovative and cost-effective interventions for those living with CHDs.
We need your help! The Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) funding process is kicking off in the House this week, where the House Labor-HHS subcommittee will meet on Thursday to consider their spending bill for FY18. ACHA asks that you urge your Representative to ensure adequate funding for the programs that address the lifelong needs Americans with CHD. Specifically, we are asking members to appropriate the following: $7 million for the CDC CHD program at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; and $36.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health.
Here are key Representatives to contact before Thursday’s markup, since they serve on the Labor-HHS subcommittee that will be writing the funding bill:
- Katherine Clark (MA)
- Tom Cole (OK)
- Rosa DeLauro (CT)
- Chuck Fleischmann (TN)
- Andy Harris (MD)
- Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA)
- Barbara Lee (CA)
- John Moolenaar (MI)
- Mark Pocan (WI)
- Marth Roby (AL)
- Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA),
- Mike Simpson (ID)
- Steve Womack (AR).
If one of these is your Representative, it is especially important that you contact their office this week!
To find out who your Representative is:
Visit www.House.gov and enter your zip code in the space next to the map in the upper right corner of the page. This will take you to a page with contact information for your Representative. You may also call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to connect you to your Representative’s office.
Here are some talking points to use when you call or email your Representative (an email template follows):
- I am a constituent who lives (insert town here) calling because of an issue that is very personal to me, congenital heart disease (CHD). Please share how CHD has impacted your life.
- CHD is the most common category of birth defects, affecting more than 1 million children and 1.4 million adults. Individuals born with CHDs require lifelong, costly, highly specialized care.
- Please support me and the CHD community by providing at least $7 million for the CHD-related public health research and surveillance initiatives at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
- The CDC is conducting research to better understand the public health impacts of CHD across the lifespan – from babies to adults.
- Please support $36.1 billion for the NIH, a $2 billion increase above fiscal year 2017 level, to support efforts to develop innovative and cost-effective interventions for those living with congenital heart disease.
If you prefer to send an email to your Representative’s office, here is a template message for you to paste into your Representative’s contact form or send via email. Please personalize the message to share why CHD research and surveillance is important to you!
Dear Representative (insert name here),
On behalf of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and the millions of people across the nation affected by congenital heart disease (CHD), I am writing to ask that Representative (insert name here) work to ensure adequate funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs that address the lifelong needs Americans with CHDs.
CHD is the most common class of birth defects and today, there are an estimated one million children and 1.4 million adults in the United States living with CHD. Even those who receive early diagnosis and successful interventions are not cured. Children, adolescents, and adults with CHD require lifelong, specialized cardiac care and face increased risk of disability, co-morbidities, and premature death.
Federal support is necessary to continue and expand upon these efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs. Historically, congressional investments in CHD activities at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) have supported state birth defects tracking systems to gather data and inform research on pregnancy exposures, risk factors, and new screening methods. Due to the increase in childhood survival rates, NCBDDD has expanded its efforts to conduct surveillance and raise awareness for the growing population of adolescents and adults living with CHD.
Specifically, we are seeking $7 million in federal support for CHD-related public health research and surveillance initiatives at the CDC’s NCBDDD. Additionally, we are seeking a total of $36.1 billion for the NIH - a $2 billion increase from fiscal year 2017 - to support efforts to develop innovative and cost-effective interventions for those living with congenital heart disease.
On behalf of the CHD community, I ask that you work to ensure robust funding for CDC and NIH programs that address the lifelong needs Americans with CHD.
Let us know about your interactions! Please contact Danielle Hile at ACHA (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let her know any responses or continuing dialogue you have with your Representative.