American Lung Association: Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations Bill Protects Lung Health
(May 1, 2017) - CHICAGO
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Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to the release of the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.
"The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Consolidated Appropriations Act is a huge victory for lung health. Protecting our nation's lung health is a non-partisan issue – and we are very pleased that leaders from both sides of the aisle funded programs essential to lung health while also rejecting most 'poison-pill riders' that would have weakened key lung health protections.
"The Lung Association was thrilled to see key investments made at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion to reach $34 billion. This increase in funding will help our nation's leading biomedical researchers continue to make progress towards finding better treatments and ultimately cures for diseases and conditions that plague Americans, including lung cancer and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, interstitial lung disease and influenza.
"Other funding amounts for key lung health programs include:
- $205 million for the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health
- $10 million for the CDC's Climate and Health Program
- $29 million for the CDC's National Asthma Control Program
- $142 million for CDC's Tuberculosis Program
- $228 million for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s State and Local Air Quality Management Grants
- $60 million for the EPA's Diesel Emission Reduction Program
- $8 million for EPA's Radon Program
- $635 million for FDA's Center for Tobacco Products
"We are pleased to see continued investment in key clean air programs, but overall, funding for EPA saw a slight cut – as did the overall budget for CDC. Sustained investments in these vital public health agencies are necessary in order to protect our nation's health.
"The American Lung Association was pleased to see that the bill does not include two 'poison-pill riders' that would have significantly weakened FDA's authority to protect our nation's youth and public health from tobacco, the leading cause of preventable death and disease. One of the House riders sought to completely exclude what the industry terms 'large and premium cigars' from FDA oversight, but applied to machine-made cigars as inexpensive as $1.00. The second House rider would have changed the so-called 'grandfather date' in order to exempt many e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products now on the market from an important FDA product review requirement. This rider would have resulted in thousands of candy-flavored e-cigarettes and cigars remaining on the market indefinitely, addicting a new generation of kids to tobacco products.
"The Lung Association was also pleased that the final bill was largely free of 'poison-pill riders' to block clean air and climate protections. Allowing EPA to continue to implement and enforce critical Clean Air Act protections against ozone, carbon, methane and other dangerous pollutants is essential for preventing asthma attacks and premature deaths.
"We were, however, disappointed to see a rider that would encourage the burning of biomass for electricity. Burning biomass leads to air pollution that causes a sweeping array of health harms resulting in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths. We were also disappointed that the bill included report language regarding ozone. Our 2017 'State of the Air' report shows more than 116 million people live in areas that earned an F grade for ozone. Any delay in implementing the ozone standard could lead to asthma attacks and other health problems that could have been prevented.
"Despite these provisions, the overall appropriations bill is a clear victory for public health. The Lung Association calls upon the House, the Senate and President Trump to pass and sign it into law without delay, and to continue prioritizing lung health as they work toward appropriations bills for FY18."
For media interested in speaking with an expert about healthcare, research funding for lung cancer and lung diseases, healthy air, e-cigarettes, tobacco use and lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.