The AAMC May 8 joined nearly 800 organizations on a letter urging the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees “to increase the fiscal year (FY) 2018 302(b) subcommittee allocation” for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS).
Each fiscal year, the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees are charged with formally distributing the total budget allocation, set by a budget resolution, into allocations for its subcommittees – known as 302(b) allocations. The Labor-HHS subcommittee allocation provides funding for discretionary health, education, social services, and workforce programs, including programs and agencies under the Department of Health and Human Services, such as the National Institutes of Health.
The letter was coordinated by the Coalition for Health Funding, Committee for Education Funding, and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce. It expresses concern that inadequate funding levels limit appropriators’ ability to fully support the wide range of programs under the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, saying, “Despite Labor-HHS’s profound impact on health and well-being, child development, educational and skills attainment, and productivity, its programs and services continue to be short-changed in the annual appropriations process.”
The letter also cites the cost of underfunding Labor-HHS programs, including the potential of “eroding the public health infrastructure and workforce, limiting our ability to respond to public health crises and monitor health trends for new and emerging threats,” and “slowing scientific discovery in basic, biomedical, and health services research that prevents disease, improves health, and curbs medical costs.”