Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Alert
Every year, Congress must pass appropriations bills that set the funding levels for all federal agencies and 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 it decides how much money will be spent on CHD-related research and surveillance activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). We need to advocate for the programs most important to us to ensure that their funding levels are maintained.
We need your help! The Senate is expected to vote on the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Labor-HHS bill on August 15th. ACHA asks that you call your Senators and ask them to vote for the bill to support adequate funding for the programs that address the lifelong needs of people with CHD. The bill includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and would maintain the CHD activities at the CDC at current levels.
Part 1 - Find Your Senators:
- Visit www.Senate.gov and select your state from the drop-down menu bar next to the American flag at the top of the page. This will take you to a page with phone and email contact information for your two Senators. You may also call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to connect you to your Senator’s office.
Part 2A – Call Your Senators:
Here are some talking points to use when you call your Senators (an email template follows):
- I am a constituent who lives in (name your state) calling because of an issue that is very personal to me, congenital heart disease (CHD). Please share how CHD has impacted your life.
- CHD doesn’t just affect me/my family. In fact, 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 specialized care, making this a public health issue as well.
- Please support me and the CHD community by voting for the FY19 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, since it will increase funding at the NIH and maintain current funding for the CDC’s congenital heart program.
- The CDC and NIH are currently doing very important CHD activities that ensure that we know more about CHDs and can improve treatments for affected people across their lifespan.
- Thank you for your consideration.
Part 2B – Email Your Senators:
Here is a template message for you to paste into your Senator’s contact form or send via email. Please enter the appropriate information in the highlighted areas and personalize the message to share why CHD research and surveillance is important to you!
Dear Senator XXX,
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 Senator (insert name here) vote in favor of the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Bill coming before the Senate this month.
This bill will 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 of Americans with CHDs. CHD is the most common class of birth defects and 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. These federal programs are critical to improving health outcomes and reducing medical costs for the more than 2.4 million children and adults with CHD in the US.
On behalf of the CHD community, I ask that you vote in favor of the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill this month 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.