CHICAGO, IL | December 18, 2019
In response to the bipartisan agreement reached by House and Senate for Fiscal Year 2020, Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:
“The American Lung Association urges the Senate to swiftly pass legislation already passed yesterday by the House of Representatives that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2020. This legislation includes important funding increases for key lung health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“The Lung Association commends the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for increasing funding for CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health by $20 million and for CDC’s National Asthma Control Program by $1 million. While we greatly appreciate these increases, we are disappointed that funding for CDC overall, and specifically for the Climate and Health Program, was not higher. Greater investments in public health are urgently needed to prevent disease and improve the health of all Americans, particularly in light of the growing health threats due to climate change. The importance of a robust and resilient public health infrastructure, which can only come through increased funding for CDC, cannot be overstated.
“Congress also increased funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2.6 billion over fiscal year 2019 and included significant increases for the National Cancer Institute. This is a major win for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Heroes – people whose lives have been forever changed by a lung cancer diagnosis – who, earlier this year, held nearly 200 meetings with their senators and representatives to request this robust funding increase for NIH.
“Protecting public health from the harmful effects of air pollution and climate change is a priority for the Lung Association, and we were pleased to see that the legislation included a $207 million increase for EPA. Key programs – such as EPA’s clean air program; radon work; state, local and Tribal air quality grants; and Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants – received continued funding. We appreciate the Committee’s continued commitment to protecting public health from air pollution and climate change.
“The American Lung Association thanks Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) for their leadership and for the fact that this strong bipartisan bill that does not contain harmful new policy riders, including those that would weaken public health protections. We continue to oppose the harmful air pollution riders carried over from previous appropriations bills.
“The Lung Association also applauds Congressional leaders for other key public health legislation included alongside the appropriations bills as a package, including:
• Legislation to increase the federal age of sale for all tobacco products to 21;
• A 10-year reauthorization of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI);
• A two-year extension of Medicaid relief for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories; and
• A one-year prohibition on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services eliminating Affordable Care Act silver-loading and auto-enrollment.
“The Lung Association urges the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation and President Trump to sign the bill into law.”
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.