WASHINGTON, DC | September 14, 2017
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3354, a package of appropriations bills including the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies and the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bills. Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement in response:
"The American Lung Association is deeply disappointed by the passage of H.R. 3354 by the U.S. House of Representatives. This spending bill makes deep cuts in funding for critical health programs and contains numerous provisions to weaken and block lifesaving protections from air pollution and tobacco.
"The bill slashes funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reducing the agency's ability to implement and enforce the Clean Air Act and other health protections. It also cuts funding for essential programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the Office on Smoking and Health, which would result in reductions in funding for state tobacco prevention programs and the highly effective ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ campaign.
"The House bill also completely eliminates the Climate and Health Program, a CDC initiative to help communities identify threats and protect public health in the face of extreme weather events, heat waves, wildfires and other impacts of climate change. The aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the ongoing wildfires in the West are immediate public health crises that tragically illustrate the necessity of more investment in this area, not less.
"The bill contains a staggering number of harmful policy provisions – called 'riders' – that have no place in a spending bill. The riders in this bill would make it harder for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect youth and the nation’s public health from tobacco products; delay more protective ozone pollution standards adopted by EPA in 2015; block initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, a potent climate pollutant; and keep the federal government from taking into account the full costs and benefits of rules that impact climate change – just to name a few.
"The American Lung Association thanks the Senate's Committee on Appropriations for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill passed by the Committee earlier this month. It would invest an additional $2 billion at the National Institutes of Health and restore funding to lung health programs at CDC from the unacceptably low levels seen in the bill passed today by the House. We ask the Senate to support full funding for clean air protections at EPA.
"As the House and Senate work to craft a final appropriations bill before the temporary funding bill expires on December 8, we call upon negotiators to hold firm and reject policy riders in all appropriations bills, including those that would weaken protections from air pollution and tobacco, and to ensure investments are made to support the lung health of all Americans."
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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