Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Would Be Devastating to Public Health

Washington, D.C. (February 15, 2011)

Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed FY11 spending cuts that will severely limit the effectiveness of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other key agencies that help protect public health. The American Lung Association urges Congress to oppose these cuts and examine other areas of the federal budget for ways to reduce spending.

House leaders have proposed that approximately $100 billion in federal funding will be cut between March 1 and September 30, 2011. The proposed cuts are being made exclusively to domestic discretionary spending, which represents only 15 percent of the entire federal budget.

“We all have to make do with less during these difficult economic times, but these radical cuts to necessary federal agencies and programs would do much more harm than good,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Health will be harmed and lives may be lost as a result of these proposed cuts.”

Implementation of the proposed spending cuts would result in the following:

  • EPA’s budget will be slashed by one-third, severely limiting its ability to protect the public from toxic air pollution;
  • One-quarter of CDC’s entire budget will be cut, diminishing programs that help people prevent and manage lung diseases, such as asthma and tobacco-related disease; and
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget will be cut by $1 billion, resulting in fewer dollars spent on finding cures and treatments for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

Also included in the proposal are appropriations riders that would further limit the effectiveness of EPA and other federal agencies.

Past legislators had it right when they created and appropriately funded these agencies to protect the lives and health of all Americans. While Congress must exercise fiscal responsibility, its current actions would be devastating to public health, particularly to those with lung disease. We urge Congress to put a stop to this misguided budgetary approach and look for other areas in the federal budget to reduce spending.

“The impact of this proposal is compounded with tonight’s announcement of the President’s FY12 budget. While the President’s budget is more moderate in its approach, it too will have an unfortunate impact on the prevention, research and treatment of lung disease – the third leading cause of death in the United States,” Connor said.

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. 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-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.