The AAMC joined three coalition letters to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders advocating for swift enactment of increased appropriations for certain health care workforce programs and public health and science agencies. The letters were delivered in advance of the Dec. 11 expiration of the current continuing resolution, which is funding the federal government at fiscal year (FY) 2020 levels.
The AAMC-led Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) sent a letter on Nov. 24 to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to provide $790 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs for FY 2021.
The letter was sent following the Nov. 10 release of the Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans’ draft FY 2021 spending bills, including a proposed $750.67 million for Title VII and Title VIII, as part of the draft Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) legislation [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 13]. By comparison, the House-passed Labor-HHS bill provided $782 million for Title VII and Title VIII [see Washington Highlights, Aug. 7].
“Investing in our health workforce by training future providers and testing new models of care is paramount in addressing public health crises. The HRSA Title VII and Title VIII programs play an essential role in training and preparing members of our health workforce who are at the forefront of fighting COVID-19,” the letter stated.
Additionally, HPNEC was very concerned to see the Senate Republican draft legislation proposal to eliminate the Health Careers Opportunity Program, noting that “eliminating any of the [Title VII and Title VIII] programs could reduce the supply of health providers for our nation’s vulnerable populations.”
The AAMC also joined over 150 members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coalition in a Nov. 24 letter urging Congress to adopt the House-passed funding level of $7.9 billion for the public health agency in FY 2021 — a $231.1 million, or 3%, increase over the comparable FY 2020 level. The CDC Coalition also encouraged Congress to provide emergency supplemental funding to support federal, state, and local health departments and agencies in combating COVID-19, including adequate resources for vaccine allocation, distribution, and administration.
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), which advocates for the National Science Foundation (NSF), also sent a FY 2021 request to Congress on Nov. 20 for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill. The AAMC joined nearly 130 CNSF members in requesting swift enactment of at least the House-passed $8.5 billion for the NSF in FY 2021 — a $270 million (3.26%) increase from FY 2020.
“We are also at a critical time building and ensuring a stable STEM workforce of the future, a challenge exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vitally important that the NSF is able to support graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other early career scientists, who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the most likely to have had their career goals deferred or derailed,” concluded CNSF members in urging Congress for additional emergency supplemental funding for the NSF.
The AAMC submitted an independent letter with year-end priorities, including appropriations recommendations for FY 2021, to congressional leadership on Nov. 18 [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 20].